Fox News contributor Geraldo Rivera defended on Friday Minnesota Democrat Ilhan Omar against accusations alleging she had downplayed the September 11 attacks, Mediaite reports.
Rivera made the remarks during an appearance on The Five, hosted by Jesse Watters. Waters accused Omar of refusing to acknowledge that she had made a mistake, but Rivera pushed back against the host’s claims, reminding Fox News viewership that Omar is getting death threats on a daily basis.
“This is not whining…This is an existential threat. She’s getting death threats on a daily basis,” he said, and then went on to compare Ilhan Omar to former President John F. Kennedy.
According to Rivera, Omar is getting the same treatment as Kennedy, being judged on the basis of her identity and having her loyalty to the United States questioned.
“This is beginning to sound a lot like when my first presidential election, 1960 Kennedy being attacked because he was Catholic and they said he’s going to have allegiance to Rome rather than to the United States. I smell the same stink here.”
Watters then doubled down on his criticism of the Minnesota lawmaker, arguing that the Republicans are not acussing her of downplaying the September 11 attacks because she is a Muslim woman. The host argued that the GOP would have done the same to a straight, white, Christian congressman. But Rivera was adamant in his defense of Omar.
“Let her learn on the job. Give her a break,” he urged.
As previously reported by The Inquisitr, a frequent target of right-wing attacks, Ilhan Omar recently came under fire for allegedly downplaying the September 11 attacks. Conservative Twitter spread a video of Omar’s remarks at the Council On American-Islamic Relations’ event, accusing the Minnesota congresswoman of siding with terrorists.
Trump is twisting Ilhan Omar's words to launch an Islamophobic attack against her. This is what she REALLY said in the full speech that's being taken out of context —> https://t.co/DdVqgN92XA pic.twitter.com/dXP3Eo7oz4
— ThinkProgress (@thinkprogress) April 13, 2019
President Donald Trump took the whole controversy to another level, posting a heavily edited, misleading video of Omar’s statements taken out of context in a way to suggest that her goal was to insult the victims of September 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. Trump posted a video montage of Ilhan Omar saying “some people did something,” as the Twin Towers crash.
It is clear from the context, however, that Omar was referring to the fact that because “some people did something” all Americans, Muslim Americans in particular, have “lost access” to their civil liberties.
Trump retweeted a video featuring a speech Ilhan Omar gave last month to the Council on American-Islamic Relations, edited without context to imply that she downplayed the attacks of September 11.https://t.co/QNDkA0q12x
— Axios (@axios) April 13, 2019
Numerous reports have noted that that this has caused death threats against Omar to surge, with some commentators accusing President Trump of openly inciting violence against a sitting Congress member. Some prominent Democrats, notably Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, were quick to jump to Omar’s defense, accusing President Trump of Islamophobia and bigotry.