No Republican members of Congress have objected to President Donald Trump tweeting footage of the September 11, 2001 attacks Friday night in order to target Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN).
Interspersed with footage of the attacks, Trump’s Twitter post showed an edited version of Omar’s remarks at a banquet for the Council on American-Islamic Relations of Greater Los Angeles last month.
During the speech, Omar lamented bigotry against American Muslims: “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.” (In fact, CAIR was founded in 1994.)
Omar’s opponents have seized upon her characterization of the attacks as “something,” omitting her broader context about civil rights. The congresswoman has been the target of a number of death threats since taking office: According to CAIR-LA, the banquet venue where the congresswoman made the remarks quoted by Trump Friday was itself targeted with a bomb threat beforehand. And recently, a New York man was arrested after allegedly threatening Omar’s life in a phone call to her congressional office.
Trump has a long history of politicizing the attacks to target Muslims. During the 2016 presidential campaign, he falsely said that he saw “thousands” of people celebrating the collapse of the Twin Towers on rooftops in New Jersey, “where you have large Arab populations.” That never happened.
Trump has also used the attacks to help himself.
In a television interview on September 11, he bragged of a building he owned near the World Trade Center: “Forty Wall Street actually was the second-tallest building in downtown Manhattan, and it was, actually, before the World Trade Center, was the tallest. And then when they built the World Trade Center it became known as the second-tallest, and now it’s the tallest.”
He also claimed during the 2016 campaign that he “helped a little bit” by clearing out rubble after the attack, though there is no evidence of that.
Trump also isn’t the first to broadcast images of 9/11 in order to attack Omar. The New York Post did the same a day earlier, publishing an image of the Twin Towers mid-plane-impact on the paper’s front page next to Omar’s statement, which there too was quoted out-of-context.
In the same address, Omar noted Trump’s Islamophobic rhetoric and said the President “knows that there are people that he can influence to threaten our lives, to diminish our presence. But what we know, and what Islam teaches us, and what I always say, is that love trumps hate.”
Some Democrats objected to Trump’s targeting of Omar.
The President is inciting violence against a sitting Congresswoman—and an entire group of Americans based on their religion. It's disgusting. It's shameful. And any elected leader who refuses to condemn it shares responsibility for it.
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) April 13, 2019
Ilhan Omar is a leader with strength and courage. She won't back down to Trump's racism and hate, and neither will we. The disgusting and dangerous attacks against her must end.
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) April 13, 2019
President Trump's inflammatory and dangerous rhetoric towards Ilhan Omar is jeopardizing her safety. He is deliberately putting her and all Muslim Americans in harm's way.
— Jay Inslee (@JayInslee) April 13, 2019
I am grateful for @IlhanMN's courage and leadership and I stand with her – and with others targeted by the President's anti-Muslim rhetoric.
— Julián Castro (@JulianCastro) April 13, 2019
After 9/11 we all said we were changed. That we were stronger and more united. That’s what “never forget” was about. Now, a president uses that dark day to incite his base against a member of Congress, as if for sport. As if we learned nothing that day about the workings of hate.
— Pete Buttigieg (@PeteButtigieg) April 13, 2019
Members of Congress have a duty to respond to the President’s explicit attack today.@IlhanMN’s life is in danger. For our colleagues to be silent is to be complicit in the outright, dangerous targeting of a member of Congress.
We must speak out.
“First they came…” pic.twitter.com/ygOX1vhE9j
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) April 12, 2019
Enough is enough. No more silence, with NY Post and now Trump taking Ilhan’s words out of context to incite violence toward her, it’s time for more Dems to speak up. Clearly the GOP is fine with this shameful stunt, but we cannot stand by.
— Rashida Tlaib (@RashidaTlaib) April 12, 2019
My sister in service @IlhanMN is on my heart tonight. The occupant of the @WhiteHouse is putting her, her family, her team & Muslim Americans across the country in jeopardy. It’s unconscionable and I’m furious #IStandWithIlhan
— Ayanna Pressley (@AyannaPressley) April 13, 2019
The President’s hateful, anti-Muslim attack on Congresswoman Omar is disgusting & dangerous.
Those enabling him ought to be ashamed. They are using 9/11 as a political ploy & it is just plain wrong. But they will not divide us. We have your back, @Ilhan.
— Rep. Jim McGovern (@RepMcGovern) April 13, 2019
I’m sick that anyone, let alone the President of the United States, would weaponize 9/11, even more so to target a Muslim Member of Congress for political gain. Beyond reckless and morally bankrupt.
— Antonio Delgado (@DelgadoforNY19) April 13, 2019