Ilhan Omar: Donald Trump's tweet about me has led to "an increase in direct threats on my life"

The Minnesota representative claims she's received an increased number of death threats because of Trump's tweet

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published April 15, 2019 8:00AM (EDT)

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (AP/J. Scott Applewhite)
Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (AP/J. Scott Applewhite)

Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., released a statement Sunday night claiming that she has received an increased number of death threats since President Donald Trump tweeted a video attacking her comments about the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

"Since the president’s tweet Friday evening, I have experienced an increase in direct threats on my life ― many directly referencing or replying to the president’s video. I thank the Capitol Police, the FBI, the House Sergeant at Arms and the Speaker of the House for their attention to these threats," Omar said in a statement, according to HuffPost. The video in question juxtaposed clips of Omar speaking to an event at the Council on American-Islamic Relations with footage of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

In the speech, Omar said that "for far too long, we have lived with the discomfort of being a second-class citizen and, frankly, I’m tired of it, and every single Muslim in this country should be tired of it."

She added, "CAIR was founded after 9/11 because they recognized that some people did something and that all of us were starting to lose access to our civil liberties. So you can’t just say that today someone is looking at me strange and that I am trying to make myself look pleasant. You have to say that, 'This person is looking at me strange. I am not comfortable with it, and I am going to talk to them and ask them why.' Because that is the right you have."

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has also spoken out about the threats received by Omar since Trump's tweet. The California legislator talked with the House Sergeant-at-Arms about the threats to Omar's life and to make sure a security assessment was being conducted, according to CNN. In a statement, Pelosi explained that she wanted "to ensure that Capitol Police are conducting a security assessment to safeguard Congresswoman Omar, her family and her staff" and added that security "will continue to monitor and address the threats she faces."

Despite concerns that Trump has potentially incited violence against Omar, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders defended the president's tweet during an appearance on ABC's "This Week" on Sunday.

"If Democrats would step up and help the president fix the laws, this all could go away, we wouldn’t be having this discussion, and that would be the best thing for the country and that would certainly be the best way to solve this crisis and fix this problem," Sanders told anchor George Stephanopoulos.

She added, "If Democrats continue to be unwilling to do that, then we’re going to look at all of our options and we don’t want to put all of the burden on one or two border communities. And Democrats have stated time and time again they support open borders, they support sanctuary cities. So, let’s spread out some of that burden and let’s put it in some of those other locations if that’s what they want to see happen and are refusing to actually help fix the problem."

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer at Salon. He received a Master's Degree in History from Rutgers-Newark in 2012 and was awarded a science journalism fellowship from the Metcalf Institute in 2022.

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