Minnesota Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar has seen a spike in death threats since a tweet by President Donald Trump suggesting that she minimized the significance of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
“Violent rhetoric and all forms of hate speech have no place in our society, much less from our country’s Commander in Chief,” the first-term Minneapolis congresswoman said in a statement Sunday. “We are all Americans. This is endangering lives. It has to stop.”
A spokesman for Omar said her office had no additional comment Monday on the threat level or what security precautions she has taken. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Sunday that she asked U.S. Capitol police to increase protection for Omar.
The threats against Omar, a Somali refugee and one of the first Muslim women elected to Congress, come amid a deluge of attacks from conservatives who claim she downplayed 9/11 during an event hosted by the Los Angeles chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. Omar’s remarks were intended to highlight how the Muslim community as a whole has had to shoulder the blame for actions by a small number of terrorists. But the phrasing she used to describe 9/11 — “some people did something “ — sparked fierce blowback from critics.
Trump joined the fray over the weekend, tweeting a video to his 59 million followers juxtaposing Omar’s remarks with footage from the attack. “We will never forget,” the president added in all caps.
His tweet was widely condemned by leading Democrats, who accused the president of irresponsibly inciting violence against an elected official. Pelosi called on Trump to delete the video. Instead, the president criticized Pelosi in a tweet for being unable to “control” the “anti-Semitic and ungrateful U.S. HATE statements” made by Omar.