Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN-05) spoke to a crowd of more than 6,000 supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) Monday night in downtown St. Paul.
“While others are gathered tonight to fight our movement, we are gathered to fight for somebody we don’t know because that is the Minnesota thing to do,” Omar began her remarks.
Speaking at the Roy Wilkins Auditorium on the eve of Super Tuesday, Omar touted the progressive track record of her home state.
“In Minnesota, we build revolutions, we lead a progressive politics, we practice the politics of joy, and we practice inclusive politics,” she said. “People talk a lot about the heartland. They don’t think people who look like me represent the heartland. But I tell people all the time that the heartland does not only welcome refugees, it sends them to Congress.”
Later in her address, she criticized “political pundits” who call her a “radical” for supporting things like Medicare for All and the Green New Deal.
“I am a little sick and tired of the political establishment and the political pundits that are constantly dismissing what people here in the heartland and across America are fighting for. I get sick and tired of hearing them call our progressive, bold ideas as radical,” said Omar. “I also know that they believe freeing 45 million people from the shackles of student debt is radical. Now I happen to think that is a sound policy that needs to be implemented yesterday.”
“Now if you think that is radical then sign me up,” Omar repeatedly said throughout her speech while discussing Sanders’ platform.
The Minnesota congresswoman criticized commentators who compare the populist tendencies of Sanders to President Donald Trump.
“You will sometimes hear political pundits who compare our populist movement to the movement that Trump is building. Now his is one that uses the anxieties that many of our communities are feeling to fuel hate and pit us against one another,” she said. “The movement we are building is one that unites all of us so that we can heal our country.”
Sen. Sanders began his speech by inviting Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s (D-MN) supporters to join his campaign.
“Tonight I want to open the door to Amy’s supporters, to Pete’s supporters. I know that there are political differences, but I also know that virtually all of Amy’s support and Pete’s support understand that we have got to move toward a government which believes in justice not greed,” he said.
Preya Samsundar, a spokesperson for the Republican National Committee, criticized Sanders and Omar for “once again” avoiding greater Minnesota.
“But it’s not hard to imagine why,” she said in a statement. “As they continue to champion policies that will ban fossil fuels and shut down rural hospitals, voters know that their socialist policies would be disastrous for everyone.”
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