The video Trump tweeted showed Omar, one of the first Muslim women elected to Congress, speaking at an event last month for the Council on American–Islamic Relations, a Muslim civil rights organization. Referring to the 9/11 attacks, she said CAIR was formed “because they recognized that some people did something.” The video then cuts to footage of the burning twin towers. In sharing the video, Trump tweeted, “WE WILL NEVER FORGET!”
Omar was not dismissing the horror of 9/11; she was making a point about discrimination against a large group of innocent people for an act perpetrated by a few individuals.
Since Omar’s congressional office was closed over the weekend, the vast majority of threats against her have come online ― although her spokesman, Jeremy Slevin, said they get all kinds of forms of harassment.
Omar also said many of the new threats have directly referenced or come in response to Trump’s tweet on Friday.
Omar’s comments from March began to receive wider attention after Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas) tweeted them on April 9. The next day, “Fox & Friends” host Brian Kilmeade played them and said, “You have to wonder if she’s an American first.” On April 11, there was an incendiary New York Post cover. And then came Trump’s tweet the following day.
In February, members of both parties criticized Omar for criticizing pro-Israel lobbying efforts on Twitter, saying her tweets relied on “anti-Semitic tropes.” Omar apologized, but some House Democrats still pushed for a resolution that rebuked her.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Sunday that she spoke with the House Sergeant at Arms about Omar’s safety and security.
Despite Omar’s statement Sunday about the increased death threats, Trump redoubled his attacks Monday morning.
Asked why the Omar tweets haven’t been taken down, a Twitter spokesperson told HuffPost, “Death threats, incitement to violence, and hateful conduct are absolutely unacceptable on Twitter. Accounts spreading this type of material will be removed and coupled with our proactive engagement, we continue to encourage people to report this content to us. This behavior undermines freedom of expression and the values our service is based on.”
A source familiar with the situation said that the tweets were left up temporarily to aid law enforcement.
Trump is in Minnesota on Monday for an event about tax cuts and the economy.
Earlier this month, a man was arrested for allegedly threatening to kill Omar. The next day, Trump gave a speech in which he said Omar “doesn’t like Israel.”
Muslim American public officials have long faced baseless accusations about dual loyalty, being a terrorist or supporting Sharia law. Trump is fueling the attacks further as president, but the hatred didn’t originate with him.
“Violent rhetoric and all forms of hate speech have no place in our society, much less from our country’s Commander in Chief,” Omar said in a statement Sunday. “We are all Americans. This is endangering lives. It has to stop.”
This story has been updated with comment from Twitter.
Ashley Feinberg contributed reporting.