Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., on Wednesday urged fellow lawmakers to condemn a Fox News host and a Republican congressman for what she called “dangerous incitement” after they accused her of downplaying the 9/11 terror attacks.
The New York Post on Thursday escalated the situation, publishing a jarring image of the Twin Towers on its front page, taking her quote out of its context. President Trump’s campaign quickly shared the image.
At a Council on American-Islamic Relations fundraiser in Woodland Hills, Calif., last month, Omar said the organization “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.” (CAIR was actually founded in 1994. According to the Washington Post, Omar’s spokesman said she misspoke and “meant to refer to the fact that the organization had doubled in size after the Sept. 11 attacks.”)
The comments were picked up this week by conservative media outlets when Mohammad Tawhidi — a self-described “imam of peace” who has “dedicated his life to ideologically tackling the spread of Islamic extremism” — tweeted a 19-second clip of Omar’s 20-minute speech.
“Ilhan Omar mentions 9/11 and does not consider it a terrorist attack on the USA by terrorists, instead she refers to it as ‘Some people did something,’” Tawhidi tweeted. (Omar did not say she does not consider the 9/11 attacks terrorism. Her remarks were describing the challenges she’s faced as a Muslim-American post-9/11.)
Rep. Dan Crenshaw, R-Texas, retweeted Tawhidi. “First Member of Congress to ever describe terrorists who killed thousands of Americans on 9/11 as ‘some people who did something,’” he wrote. “Unbelievable.”
Ronna McDaniel, chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, also tweeted the clip. She declared that Omar is “anti-American.” During a segment discussing Omar’s comments on Wednesday’s “Fox & Friends,” co-host Brian Kilmeade said, “You have to wonder if she’s an American first.”
Kilmeade later attempted to clarify his comments.
“I didn’t intend to question whether Rep. Omar is an American,” he tweeted. “I am questioning how any American, let alone a United States Congresswoman, could downplay the 9/11 attacks.”
On Wednesday afternoon, Omar pointed to Kilmeade’s and Crenshaw’s comments in a tweet calling on “leaders of both parties” to condemn them.
“This is dangerous incitement, given the death threats I face,” she wrote. “My love and commitment to our country and that of my colleagues should never be in question. We are ALL Americans!”
Last week, a New York man and avowed Trump supporter was arrested by federal authorities for allegedly threatening to kill her.
According to a criminal complaint, Patrick Carlineo Jr., 55, called Omar’s office and told staffers that “she’s a f***ing terrorist” and “I’ll put a bullet in her f***ing skull.”
Omar, a Muslim Somali-American, has become a popular target for Trump and his supporters for her outspoken views on U.S.-Israeli relations. In February, she was forced to apologize after suggesting that U.S. policy toward Israel is linked to financial support from American Jews.