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On Friday, President Donald Trump tweeted a heavily edited video of Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) making a speech at the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) interspersed with footage from the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, with the caption “WE WILL NEVER FORGET!”
“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,” Omar said at the time, discussing CAIR’s founding as an advocacy group for Muslims.
But the line “some people did something” appears in isolation throughout the video, repeated, emphasized, and set to dramatic music.
WE WILL NEVER FORGET! pic.twitter.com/VxrGFRFeJM
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 12, 2019
Omar’s colleague Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) came to her defense, and called on others to do the same.
“Members of Congress have a duty to respond to the President’s explicit attack today. @IlhanMN’s life is in danger. For our colleagues to be silent is to be complicit in the outright, dangerous targeting of a member of Congress. We must speak out. ‘First they came…'” she tweeted Friday.
Members of Congress have a duty to respond to the President’s explicit attack today.@IlhanMN’s life is in danger. For our colleagues to be silent is to be complicit in the outright, dangerous targeting of a member of Congress.
We must speak out.
“First they came…” pic.twitter.com/ygOX1vhE9j
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) April 12, 2019
Other Democrats also spoke out against Trump’s video.
“Ilhan Omar is a leader with strength and courage. She won’t back down to Trump’s racism and hate, and neither will we. The disgusting and dangerous attacks against her must end,” tweeted Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)
Ilhan Omar is a leader with strength and courage. She won't back down to Trump's racism and hate, and neither will we. The disgusting and dangerous attacks against her must end.
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) April 13, 2019
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) called out the president for tweeting the video (which, as of Saturday morning, was pinned to the top of his feed). “The President is inciting violence against a sitting Congresswoman—and an entire group of Americans based on their religion. It’s disgusting. It’s shameful. And any elected leader who refuses to condemn it shares responsibility for it,” Warren tweeted.
Other Democrats who came to Omar’s defense included presidential candidates Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington and Julián Castro.
President Trump's inflammatory and dangerous rhetoric towards Ilhan Omar is jeopardizing her safety. He is deliberately putting her and all Muslim Americans in harm's way.
— Jay Inslee (@JayInslee) April 13, 2019
I’m sick that anyone, let alone the President of the United States, would weaponize 9/11, even more so to target a Muslim Member of Congress for political gain. Beyond reckless and morally bankrupt.
— Antonio Delgado (@DelgadoforNY19) April 13, 2019
The President’s hateful, anti-Muslim attack on Congresswoman Omar is disgusting & dangerous.
Those enabling him ought to be ashamed. They are using 9/11 as a political ploy & it is just plain wrong. But they will not divide us. We have your back, @Ilhan.
— Rep. Jim McGovern (@RepMcGovern) April 13, 2019
I am grateful for @IlhanMN's courage and leadership and I stand with her – and with others targeted by the President's anti-Muslim rhetoric.
— Julián Castro (@JulianCastro) April 13, 2019
CAIR also put out a statement on Twitter regarding the video.
“Every American should be disgusted by @realDonaldTrump’s continued incitement against Rep. @IlhanMN,” the organization tweeted Friday.
“American Muslims died on 9/11 too. Muslim first responders died running towards the destruction. In the backlash, Americans who were Muslim or perceived as Muslim were murdered.”
Every American should be disgusted by @realDonaldTrump’s continued incitement against Rep. @IlhanMN. American Muslims died on 9/11 too. Muslim first responders died running towards the destruction. In the backlash, Americans who were Muslim or perceived as Muslim were murdered. https://t.co/KCGHRfnS8j
— CAIR National (@CAIRNational) April 13, 2019
Democratic Florida gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum called for Trump’s account to be suspended.
— Andrew Gillum (@AndrewGillum) April 13, 2019
But Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi offered a tepid response to the video, defending the images of Sept. 11 and not mentioning Omar by name.
The memory of 9/11 is sacred ground, and any discussion of it must be done with reverence. The President shouldn’t use the painful images of 9/11 for a political attack.
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) April 13, 2019
This is only the most recent attack on Omar; earlier this week the New York Post took the same line from the same speech and juxtaposed it with an image of the World Trade Center attack.
Ellen Ioanes is the FOIA reporter at the Daily Dot, where she covers U.S. politics. She is a graduate of Columbia Journalism School, and her work has appeared in the Guardian, the Center for Public Integrity, HuffPost India, and more.