Once again, Republicans are attacking Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar, who is Muslim. Once again, they help split the Democratic Party.
This time, it started after Omar spoke to the Council on American-Islamic Relations. She said: “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. . . . For far too long we have lived with the discomfort of being a second-class citizen and, frankly, I’m tired of it, and every single Muslim in this country should be tired of it.”
Some news outlets, including the The New York Post and Fox News, then jumped Omar. They used her words — “some people did something” — to claim she was diminishing the significance of the 9/11 attack, which she seemed to be.
Some examples of those who attacked Omar:
RNC chairwoman Ronna McDaniel: “Ilhan Omar isn’t just anti-Semitic — she’s anti-American.”
Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani: “Democratic leaders in Congress should have the courage to denounce for her outrageous and ignorant comments.”
Former NYPD Commissioner Bernard Kerik: “I oversaw the NYPD’s response, rescue, recovery, and investigative efforts of that ‘something’ that ‘some people did.’”
Even President Donald Trump piled on Omar, who has a point about Muslims losing access to civil liberties. Nowhere was this more apparent than when then-NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly sent detectives into mosques up and down the East Coast, searching for terror plots. On the other hand, Omar, a Somali refugee who came here in 1992, seems naive in failing to understand Americans’ fear after the 9/11 attacks.
As for anti-Semitism claims against Omar, last month she apologized for what many perceived as a biased tweet. She wrote that “It’s all about the Benjamins, Baby!” saying the American Israel Public Affairs Committee lobbies Washington to take pro-Israel positions.
So far, the most vocal defenders of Omar have been those on the leftist edge of the political spectrum. But where are Democratic moderates? After her “Benjamin” line, Speaker Nancy Pelsoi allowed a vote on the House floor meant as a repudiation of Omar’s remarks. More recently, Pelosi criticized Trump for his attacks on Omar but nothing about Omar’s remarks to CAIR.
It doesn’t look good for Omar. It doesn’t look good for moderates. It doesn’t look good for the Democratic Party.