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Trump doesn't regret that racist tweet about Ilhan Omar and 9/11

Trump says Omar, who came to the U.S. as a child refugee, "doesn’t really understand, I think, life, real life.”

by Rex Santus
Apr 16 2019, 7:46pm

President Trump has no regrets about tweeting a 9/11 video that Rep. Ilhan Omar says caused a spike in threats against her life.

During a visit to Minnesota, Omar’s home state, Trump told a local reporter why he tweeted a video Friday that interspersed a single sentence Omar said — ”some people did something” — with footage from the terrorist attacks.

“She’s been very disrespectful to this country,” Trump said of Omar. “She’s been very disrespectful, frankly, to Israel. She is somebody that doesn’t really understand, I think, life, real life.”

Omar, a former refugee who escaped Somalia’s civil war, is one of only two Muslim women ever elected to Congress. She and her family spent four years at a refugee camp in Kenya before coming to the U.S. Numerous progressives and Democrats have defended Omar from Trump’s attacks by saying that his rhetoric is encouraging violence against the congresswoman, her family, and other Muslim people.

“It’s unfortunate,” Trump continued. “She’s got a way about her that’s very, very bad, I think, for our country. I think she’s extremely unpatriotic and extremely disrespectful to our country.”

Separately, Trump spoke at a Tax Day event in Minnesota and took what some perceived to be a veiled shot at Somali immigrants, including Omar, in the state. A racist, Islamophobic conspiracy theory — referenced in a meme that has been retweeted by the president's son, Don Jr. — claims that President Barack Obama’s refugee policies were a calculated effort to get Omar elected.

"I want to reiterate something that is different from what we are talking about today, but I think you have been treated extremely unfairly with respect to immigration,” Trump said. “Extremely unfairly. We are going to change that. We will change it."

Omar is the most vocal critic of the Israeli government in Congress and among the most high-profile freshman members of the House. Republicans and some Democrats have accused Omar of anti-Semitism over her criticism of Israel, pro-Israel lobbyists, and Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. She has been targeted by numerous threats of violence since taking office. Earlier this month, the FBI arrested a man who allegedly called Omar’s office and threatened to shoot her in the head.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi didn’t directly defend Omar from Trump’s attacks until Sunday. Pelosi said she'd spoken with the Capitol Police sergeant-at-arms to ensure that Omar was safe.

“The president’s words weigh a ton, and his hateful & inflammatory rhetoric creates real danger,” Pelosi tweeted. “President Trump must take down his disrespectful and dangerous video.”

Pelosi herself has been subject to criticism over her handling of Trump’s 9/11 video. On Tuesday, Pelosi deflected a question from CNN’s Christiane Amanpour about whether she responded quickly enough to defend Omar.

"Well, I haven't had a chance to speak with her, I'm traveling," Pelosi said.

"I don't even know what was said,” Pelosi added.

Cover: U.S. President Donald Trump speaks at a roundtable on the economy and tax reform at Nuss Trucking and Equipment on April 15, 2019 in Burnsville, Minnesota. (Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images)