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After Rep. Ilhan Omar Shamed Donald Trump for Contributing to Surge in Death Threats Against Her, Trump Just Doubled Down on His Criticism of Her


After Rep. Ilhan Omar Shamed Donald Trump for Contributing to Surge in Death Threats Against Her, Trump Just Doubled Down on His Criticism of Her
Tom Brenner/Getty Images // MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images

Representative Ilhan Omar (D-MN) says she's faced increased death threats since President Donald Trump shared a video that claims to show her being dismissive of the terror attacks of September 11, 2001.

In a statement posted to her Twitter account, Omar says that many of these death threats are "directly referencing or replying to the President's video."

She adds:

"Violent crimes and other acts of hate by right-wing extremists and white nationalists are on the rise in this country and around the world," she said. "We can no longer ignore that they are being encouraged by the occupant of the highest office in the land. Counties that hosted a 2016 Trump rally saw a 226 percent increase in hate crimes in the months following the rally. And assaults increase when cities host Trump rallies. This is particularly concerning given the president's visit to my home state of Minnesota on Monday.

Violent rhetoric and hate speech have no place in our society, much less from our country's Commander in Chief.

We are all Americans. This is endangering lives. This has to stop."

But Omar's statement appears to have fallen on deaf ears. The president lashed out not long afterward, accusing Omar of having House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) under her thumb.

The president's tweet is just one of several he's sent out over the weekend assailing Democrats on everything from their push to release the Mueller report to their stance on immigration laws, and he was swiftly criticized for inflaming tensions. His past statements were also used against him.

Trump's remarks came after Pelosi issued a statement saying she'd spoken with congressional authorities "to ensure that Capitol Police are conducting a security assessment to safeguard Congresswoman Omar, her family and her staff."

"The President's words weigh a ton, and his hateful and inflammatory rhetoric creates real danger," Pelosi said. "President Trump must take down his disrespectful and dangerous video."

Critics have accused Omar of minimizing the effects of the 9/11 attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people. Trump's video only contains a snippet of Omar's comments, though, and takes them out of context. Omar was making a larger statement about how Muslims felt uneasy following the attacks as their civil liberties were threatened.

In a piece for The Washington Post, writer Greg Sargeant says that the president's attacks are explicitly designed to invoke hatred against Omar and other Muslims:

One cannot conclusively establish one way or the other whether Trump actively wants to see physical harm befall Omar. But here’s what we can say right now: Trump’s attacks absolutely are designed to incite hatred of Muslims, and the fact that this could have horrifying consequences does not weigh on him in the slightest.

We know these things, because Trump’s monumentally dishonest treatment of Omar’s quote, as well as his own long history, leave no doubt about it. Trump has used 9/11 to stir up hatred of Muslims before — relying on massively deceptive agitprop to do so — and he has repeatedly continued trafficking in various tropes even after they have been confirmed to potentially play some kind of role in inciting hate and even murder.

The president has been criticized for remarks about the 9/11 attacks before.

On September 11, 2001, Trump, then just a New York real estate mogul, called into a New York TV news broadcast as the station aired footage of the World Trade Center attacks and claimed that his property at 40 Wall Street would now become the tallest building in the area.

“40 Wall Street actually was the second-tallest building in downtown Manhattan, and it was actually, before the World Trade Center, was the tallest — and then, when they built the World Trade Center, it became known as the second-tallest,” he said. “And now it’s the tallest,” Trump said to WWOR co-anchor Brenda Blackmon at the time.

That claim turned out to be false: According to the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, 70 Pine Street, at 952 feet, became the tallest building in the area after 9/11. Trump’s building at 40 Wall Street is 927 feet tall, 25 feet shorter than 70 Pine Street.

Trump was called out for his insensitivity but never apologized.