Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN-05) declined to respond to President Donald Trump’s claim that she once praised al-Qaeda.
During a Monday press conference, Trump continued his attack on the so-called “squad,” comprised of Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY-14), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI-13), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA-07), and Omar.
“Politicians can’t be afraid to take them on, a politician that hears somebody where we’re at war with al-Qaeda and she’s somebody who’s talking about how great al-Qaeda is. Pick out her statement. That was Omar—how great al-Qaeda is,” Trump said Monday. “If weak politicians want to say—and the Democrats in this case—if they want to gear their wagons around these four people, I think they’re going to have a very tough election because I don’t think the people of the United States will stand for it.”
In response, the squad called a press conference of its own Monday afternoon when Omar was asked to respond to Trump’s claim that she’s “pro al-Qaeda.”
“When he made the comment I know that every single Muslim who has lived in this country and across the world has heard that comment, and so I will not dignify it with an answer because I know that every single Islamophobe, every single person who is hateful, who is driven by an ideology of othering, as this president is, rejoices in us responding to that and us defending ourselves,” Omar said.
“I think it is beyond time to ask Muslims to condemn terrorists. We are no longer going to allow the dignification of such a ridiculous, ridiculous statement,” she continued.
Trump’s claim was based on a 2013 interview Omar conducted with the Somali-American show “BelAhdan.” During the interview, Omar discussed a course on terrorism that she took in college and appeared to mock Americans for their anxiety over terrorist organizations.
“The thing that was interesting in the class was that every time the professor said al-Qaeda, he sort of—his shoulders went up, and you know—‘al-Qaeda,’ you know, ‘Hezbollah,’” Omar said while mockingly shrugging her shoulders and laughing with the moderator, as The Minnesota Sun reported.
“You don’t say America with an intensity. You don’t say England with an intensity. You know, you don’t say the Army with an intensity. But you say these names because you want the word to carry weight,” Omar elaborated.
— The Reagan Battalion (@ReaganBattalion) April 11, 2019
Trump said on Twitter that the Democratic Party was “trying to distance themselves from the four ‘progressives,’ but now they are forced to embraced them.”
The Dems were trying to distance themselves from the four “progressives,” but now they are forced to embrace them. That means they are endorsing Socialism, hate of Israel and the USA! Not good for the Democrats!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 15, 2019
“That means they are endorsing socialism, hate of Israel and the USA! Not good for the Democrats,” he added.
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Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of Battleground State News, The Ohio Star, and The Minnesota Sun. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo “Ilhan Omar” by MSNBC.