Saturday, March 9, 2019

Ilhan Omar claims her Obama comments were distorted, then posts audio confirming controversial remarks

Rep. Ilhan Omar’s attempt to shame a news outlet for misquoting her blistering attack on former President Barack Obama backfired after she released audio of the interview that only served to confirm her remarks.
The Minnesota Democrat, who’s faced controversy over comments perceived as anti-Semitic, got into hot water yet again after saying Obama’s “hope and change” message was a “mirage” and slammed the administration’s drone and border-detention policies.
politicoFirst, Omar tweeted that Lindsey Graham had been “compromised,” suggesting that his support for Trump—whom he’d verbally mauled throughout the 2016 campaign—owed to blackmail collected on the South Carolina senator. (Conservatives accused Omar of playing on the long-running, unsubstantiated insinuation that Graham is gay; she denied this, but apologized.) Then, after being seated on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Omar was lampooned for a 2012 tweet in which she wrote during an Israeli military campaign in the Gaza Strip, “Israel has hypnotized the world, may Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel.” (Omar later apologized and deleted the tweet; she claimed ignorance of the anti-Semitic trope that conceives of Jewish hypnosis.)
Finally, in early February, after just over a month on the job, Omar made the jump from occasional agitator to permanent lightning rod. Arguing that U.S. lawmakers back Israel because of campaign donations from Jewish donors, the congresswoman tweeted, “It’s all about the Benjamins baby,” a reference to $100 bills. The fallout was fierce: The entire House Democratic leadership denounced Omar, forcing yet another apology, and both the president and vice president piled on, skewering the congresswoman for her remarks, with Trump even suggesting that she should resign from Congress. (Notably, neither Trump nor Mike Pence has ever criticized Congressman Steve King despite his well-documented record of openly racist rhetoric.)
All of this proved agonizing for Omar’s constituents, particularly those in the Somali community. Her arrival in Congress was meant to bring them legitimacy and representation. Instead, almost immediately, it invited controversy and humiliation. “I was shocked. I don’t like her on Twitter,” Aden tells me. “She’s very smart, and I didn’t think she would talk that way. It was an embarrassment for me as a Somali-American, because we do not like extreme left or extreme right. But she will do better. This is new to her—she will learn how to handle it.”

The more essential question, it seems, is whether the Democratic Party—its base bursting with energy, riding high off the House takeover of 2018—will learn to handle Omar.


  1. Racist Joe here. With a racist comment.

    Is it possible that a Somali woman just isn't suited for a liberal Western democracy?

    Just askin'.

  2. Kalonymus AnonymusMarch 10, 2019 at 3:55 AM

    give them an inch, and they will be justifying terrorism, islamization etc. Oh, that applies to all Muslims, even the secular ones.

  3. I'd say, "read my lips" as I express agreement, except this burka makes that difficult.


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