POLITICS

The Right Is Mad About Ilhan Omar's 9/11 Comments. Here's What She Really Said.

"You have to wonder if she's an American first," a "Fox & Friends" host said of the congresswoman.

Conservatives are calling Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) un-American, this time for not going far enough to condemn the 9/11 terrorist attacks in a speech she made to the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) last month. 

The attacks are part of an ongoing right-wing pattern in which Muslim politicians are accused of harboring “dual loyalties.”

“Far too long we have lived with the discomfort of being a second-class citizen,” Omar says in a clip circulating on social media that was taken from the March 23 fundraising event. She added, “Frankly, I’m tired of it, and every single Muslim in this country should be tired of it.”

Rep. Ilhan Omar is a Minnesota Democrat (and an American).
Rep. Ilhan Omar is a Minnesota Democrat (and an American).

While much of her speech focused on the challenges of being a Muslim in America, one line in particular has proved agitating: “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.”

(CAIR was actually founded in 1994 but stepped up its work to promote Muslim civil rights after the 2001 terrorist attacks.)

All three “Fox & Friends” co-hosts, Brian Kilmeade, Ainsley Earhardt and Steve Doocey, slammed the congresswoman during their Wednesday morning broadcast.

“Thousands in the Pentagon and, you know, Flight 93, as well as in the World Trade Center? Really? Some few people did something?” Kilmeade said.

He continued: “You have to wonder if she’s an American first.”

(Kilmeade later walked back his comments in a tweet stating that he wasn’t questioning whether Omar “is an American” but “how any American, let alone a United States Congresswoman, could downplay the 9/11 attacks.”)

Members of the GOP have consistently tried to paint Omar as a foreigner who sympathizes with Muslim extremists, going so far as to connect her to the 9/11 terrorist attacks in one inflammatory poster hung up in the West Virginia House of Delegates. This week, her vague characterization of the 9/11 terrorists gave them extra fuel.

Republican leaders joined in the criticism, with GOP Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel labelling Omar “anti-American.”

“If it weren’t clear before her unbelievable comments about 9/11, Ilhan Omar needs to go,” McDaniel wrote in a Wednesday morning tweet. 

On Tuesday afternoon, Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas) called Omar the “[f]irst Member of Congress to ever describe terrorists who killed thousands of Americans on 9/11 as ‘some people who did something.’”

“Unbelievable,” Crenshaw wrote.

Omar became one of the first two Muslim women ever elected to Congress last year. Since then she has found herself a frequent target of conservatives for her outspoken criticisms of the Israeli government, which the right falsely conflates with anti-Semitism. Certain of her comments about Israel, however, have also landed her in hot water with some leaders of her own party.

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