Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) offered to contribute to a ticket to Somalia for Congresswoman Ilhan Omar (D-MN), a former refugee and American citizen who escaped violence in her birth country of Somalia as a child. Paul’s comments come weeks after President Donald Trump’s racist tweets against four congresswomen of color, including Omar, suggesting they “go back” to their countries.
I’d be curious to see polling on Rand Paul’s statements. What percentage of American Democrats agree with the sentiments he has expressed? | pic.twitter.com/trGcsvwCls
— Mike (@Doranimated) July 29, 2019
“Well, [Omar] 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 said. “I think that’s about as ungrateful as you can get.”
“And so — 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, and then maybe after she’s visited Somalia for a while, she might come back and appreciate America more.”
People found Paul’s words to be patronizing and offensive.
I'm sitting here laughting at the idea that legacy case Rand Paul, a guy who got into politics because of Daddy's clout and following, somehow has a more clear-eyed read on all this than the woman whose adolescence was spent in a refugee camp. https://t.co/raVDZJgkEL
— Chris Hayes (@chrislhayes) July 29, 2019
If @RandPaul wanted to save a few bucks he could invite @IlhanMN to Kentucky where she can tour 10 of America’s worst counties based on poverty, education and healthcare and where residents are dependent on fed gov’t handouts (taken from revenue generated in blue states). https://t.co/ARyeYvXxnV
— Col. Morris Davis (@ColMorrisDavis) July 29, 2019
— Jamie Schler (@lifesafeast) July 29, 2019
This is a absurd statement, even by Rand Paul standards. If there is anyone who knows the challenges Somalia has faced, it’s @IlhanMN.
She advocates for human rights, and for improved conditions in Somalia.
BUT she would also like to see the US work a live up to its ideals. https://t.co/mzG1QnA4zX
— John Nichols (@NicholsUprising) July 29, 2019
Paul’s words also present the expectation that citizens like Omar, who has been a naturalized American for over two decades, don’t have the right to criticize the United States or question is policies.
With all due respect, sir, coming to this country as a refugee doesn’t entail waiving the right to any and all criticism of the United States in perpetuity.
this refugee https://t.co/2OlQ5zxrsK
— Julia Ioffe (@juliaioffe) July 29, 2019
@RandPaul U.S. Senator for Kentucky | I fight for the Constitution, individual liberty and the freedoms that make this country great. These are your words sir. IIhan Omar has the RIGHT to criticize America. Hence the term Make America Great Again.
— Warren Reid Jr (@Man_He_Funny) July 29, 2019
@RandPaul criticizes America as much as anyone.
What the hell does @IlhanMN coming Somalia when she was a 6 yo have to do with her right to criticize America?
Weird for a libertarian to attack free speech@RandPaul should go back to the taxidermy/toupee shop and get a refund.
— Asterisk Infarction/Embolism 2019 (@CountAsterisk99) July 29, 2019
Speaking of appreciating America more, it’s worth noting that Paul was recently one of only two senators to vote against permanently funding healthcare for 9/11’s first responders.