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Sen. Rand Paul said he’d buy Rep. Ilhan Omar a ticket back to Somalia so she can “come back and appreciate America more.”
The Kentucky Republican made the remark about Omar, a Democrat from Minnesota who immigrated to the U.S. in the '90s, during an interview with Breitbart News Friday.
“I’m willing to contribute to buy her a ticket to go visit Somalia, and I think she can look and maybe learn a little bit about the disaster that is Somalia — that has no capitalism, has no god-given rights guaranteed in a constitution, and has about seven different tribes that have been fighting each other for the last 40 years,” Paul said. “And then maybe after she’s visited Somalia for a while, she might come back and appreciate America more.”
Paul’s remarks follow weeks of controversy around President Trump’s tweets calling four newly elected congresswomen of color, New York’s Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Massachusetts’ Ayanna Pressley, Michigan’s Rashida Tlaib and Omar, to “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime-infested places from which they came.”
Three of those elected officials are American-born citizens. Omar was born in Somalia. She first came to the U.S. in 1992 at age 12 and became a citizen in 2000.
Despite the inaccuracies in the president’s tweets, the four women, collectively known as “The Squad,” have drawn the ire of Republicans. During a recent campaign rally in Greenville, North Carolina, Trump supporters chanted “Send her back” in unison about Omar.
Trump expressed regret about the chants before reverting back to insulting Omar and her freshman colleagues, going so far as to call them racist last week. Meanwhile, Republicans in Congress have remained silent instead of calling out the president.
“Well, she came here and we fed her, we clothed her, she got welfare, she got [schooling], she got healthcare, and then, lo and behold, she has the honor of actually winning a seat in Congress. And she says we’re a terrible country?” Paul continued in his interview with Breitbart. “I think that’s about as ungrateful as you can get.”
Omar has yet to release an official response to Rand’s xenophobic tirade, but she did appear to express her feelings on the matter by retweeting a post from comedian Tom Arnold.
“Imagine being Rand Paul's next-door neighbor and having to deal with Rand Paul lying cowardly circular whiney bullcrap about lawn clippings,” Arnold wrote Monday. “No wonder he ripped his toupee off.”
The tweet is a reference to Paul’s real-life neighbor Rene Boucher, who plead guilty in March for assaulting the senator in 2017. Paul came out of the altercation with six broken ribs.
This week, President Trump continued to attack Democrats of color. On Sunday morning, he called the city of Baltimore “disgusting” and “rat and rodent-infested,” and placed the blame on Maryland congressman Elijah Cummings. Then Monday morning, he went after prominent civil rights activist and TV personality Al Sharpton.
Trump also accused the two of “playing the race card” and “hating whites and cops.”
Cover: Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., center, flanked by Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., left, and Rep. Deb Haaland, D-N.M., introduces the Zero Waste Act that would create a federal grant program to help local governments invest in waste reduction initiatives, at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, July 25, 2019. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)