In a targeted attack against Rep. Ilhan Omar, one of the first Muslim women elected to Congress, President Donald Trump shared a video edited without context to combine scenes from 9/11 with footage from a speech the Minnesota representative had given last month. In splicing images of 9/11 with footage of Omar, the video appears to be an attempt to imply the freshman representative had somehow minimized the Sept. 11 attacks while speaking about lingering suspicions unfairly cast on all Muslims living in America in the aftermath of 9/11 at a Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) banquet held in March.
The video Trump shared Friday alongside the caption, "WE WILL NEVER FORGET!" lifted one line of Omar's CAIR speech (which it then drilled down to just four words repeated multiple times) and presented it without context to suggest the congresswoman had downplayed 9/11 as "some people did something." In reality, Omar had been discussing civil rights, violent and deadly attacks against Muslim communities, as well as the suspicion and hate directed at all Muslims in the aftermath of 9/11. Here's that section of Omar's remarks as reported by The Washington Post:
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. CAIR was founded after 9/11 because they recognize 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.
The video Trump shared Friday on Twitter largely focused only on Omar's "some people did something" remark.
Trump's tweet comes roughly a week after a self-described Trump supporter was arrested in New York for allegedly threatening to attack and murder Omar because of her Muslim faith. According to CNN, the suspect told authorities he loved Trump and "hates radical Muslims in our government." Many have accused the president of inciting violence against a member of Congress with the video he shared Friday.
"The President is inciting violence against a sitting Congresswoman—and an entire group of Americans based on their religion," Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a 2020 presidential hopeful, wrote in a tweet. "It's disgusting. It's shameful. And any elected leader who refuses to condemn it shares responsibility for it." Other 2020 presidential hopefuls to have spoken out in defense of Omar include Sen. Bernie Sanders, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Julián Castro, Beto O'Rourke, and Jay Inslee.
Fellow freshman representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez urged her colleagues to push back against Trump's tweet, arguing that Omar's life was in danger. "Members of Congress have a duty to respond to the President's explicit attack today," she tweeted. "For our colleagues to be silent is to be complicit in the outright, dangerous targeting of a member of Congress. We must speak out."
But Republican Rep. Dan Crenshaw, whom The Washington Post reported was the first member of Congress to retweet video of Omar's remark presented without context, has continued to defend both his and the president's condemnation of Omar. "When someone calls out a public official for things they said, it is not endangering their life or inciting violence," he tweeted early Saturday. "Claiming otherwise is just an attempt to silence your critics."
Omar, who has previously said she receives death threats, does not appear to have responded to Trump's tweet yet.