Republicans criticize Ilhan Omar for 9/11 remarks in CBS interview | News Coverage from USA

Republicans criticize Ilhan Omar for 9/11 remarks in CBS interview

Nicholas Wu

USA TODAY

Published 2:35 PM EDT Sep 15, 2019

WASHINGTON – Republicans reignited controversy over Rep. Ilhan Omar’s comments about 9/11 after she was asked about it on a Sunday morning television interview. 

Omar had given remarks before the Council on American-Islamic Relations in March, and had said the group had been “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.” 

Democrats have previously argued Omar’s remarks were taken out of context and that Omar was attempting to differentiate terrorists from all Muslims, whereas Republicans have heavily criticized her for them.  

“Nearly 3,000 Americans were killed by terrorists on 9/11. It shouldn’t be this difficult for Ilhan Omar to understand why her “some people did something” comment was so offensive,” wrote Republican chairwoman Ronna McDaniel in a Sunday Twitter post, attaching a clip of Omar’s Sunday morning interview on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” 

In the interview, the Minnesota Democrat was asked about an incident during this year’s 9/11 remembrance ceremony in New York City in which the son of one of the 9/11 victims had addressed Omar’s previous comments about 9/11.  

“Do you understand why people found that offensive?” asked host Margaret Brennan, in reference to Omar’s past remarks. 

Omar started her response by acknowledging that 9/11 had been “an attack on all Americans,” and that “I certainly could not understand the weight of the pain that the victims of the- the families of 9/11 must feel. But I think it is really important for us to make sure that we are not forgetting, right, the aftermath of what happened after 9/11.

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Omar continued by saying her past remarks had been in reference to civil rights violations against Muslims in the aftermath of 9/11. 

“What I was speaking to was the fact that as a Muslim, not only was I suffering as an American who was attacked on that day, but the next day I woke up as my fellow Americans were now treating me a suspect,” she said. 

A few days earlier at the Ground Zero remembrance ceremony, Nicholas Haros Jr., whose mother was killed in the terrorist attacks, wore a black T-shirt with the words “Some people did something” as he read a list of victims’ names, including his mother’s.

“Today I am here to respond to you exactly who did what to whom. Madam, objectively speaking, we know who and what was done,” Haros Jr. said. “There is no uncertainty about that. Why your confusion?”

Omar’s remarks have been a source of criticism on the right. 

In April, President Donald Trump posted a video with part of Omar’s CAIR remarks juxtaposed with images of planes hitting the World Trade Center. 

Omar said she received death threats after Trump’s tweet, and her fellow Democrats accused the president of jeopardizing Omar’s life with the post, arguing the content was geared to incite Trump followers. 

At the time, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., tweeted to say that “Members of Congress have a duty to respond to the President’s explicit attack.”

Following the incident at the 9/11 ceremony this year, Omar’s office pointed USA TODAY  to the congresswoman’s previous remarks that there was “a particular bias and a certain lens that people critique the words I use. And that is not a bias or a lens that I can get rid of with one answer, with one conversation.” 

She noted that, “To some people, it’s easy for them to not think of me as an American, as someone who would not have the same feelings as they did as we were being attacked on American soil.” 

Contributing: Jeanine Santucci, Christal Hayes


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