Many freshman representatives have been gaining a fair amount of traction recently, either by the things they say or the legislation they push. One of these is Congresswoman Ilhan Omar from Minnesota. However, the reasons for the attention she has garnered are more negative than positive.
Earlier in March, Ilhan Omar accused American Jews of "dual loyalty," an anti-Semitic trope that has been used many times throughout history. She proclaimed, "I want to talk about the political influence in this country that says that it is OK for people to push for allegiance to a foreign country." When Democrat Representative Nita Lowey called her out for such comments, Omar responded by saying, "I should not be expected to have allegiance/pledge support to a foreign country in order to serve my country in Congress."
Most recently, she has come under fire over her comments on the 9/11 terrorist attacks, referring to this horrific event as "some people did something." Here's the full quote:
"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 recognized that some people did something and that all of us were starting to lose access to our civil liberties."
She could have reasonably apologized for that comment, saying that she used a poor choice of words and did not really mean it. But instead, she doubled down. Omar tweeted a quote from George W. Bush that says, "The people — and the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon."She then followed up in the same tweet asking, "was Bush downplaying the terrorist attack? What if he was a Muslim?"
Omar and her defenders say that she is being criticized because she is a person of color and for her Muslim faith. However, there are other Muslim and African-American Congress members who aren't under any scrutiny like her. They don't associate themselves with anti-Semitism and downplay terrorism like Ilhan Omar did.
Now, Omar and her companions are suggesting that a video Trump tweeted, juxtaposing her 9/11 comments with footage of the attack is inciting violence. When asked if she thinks Trump is trying to incite violence against Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, responded by saying, "Absolutely." Omar replied to the video by saying, "Violent rhetoric and all forms of hate speech have no place in our society, much less from our country's Commander in Chief. We are all Americans. This is endangering lives. It has to stop."
Has Trump used violent rhetoric before? Yes, he has, but the video he tweeted about Ilhan Omar does not encourage any violence toward her. It is dishonest to say it does and is an attempt to stifle real discussion. The actual people sending Omar death threats and the people honestly criticizing her are two entirely different groups.
If Democrats want to have a chance for 2020, they need to split from the radical area of their party, and that includes Ilhan Omar.