Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) called President Trump a white supremacist that feels Somali refugees like her are “worthless.” In an interview with MSNBC on Thursday, Omar said she is just a manifestation of the Republican party’s hate for Somali refugees, Muslims, and black immigrants. Omar said she resents anyone who says Trump is not a racist or white supremacist and called political opponents that target her “quite disgusting.”
“This man is a white supremacist, and so, it’s no surprise that he has ideas of feeling that Somalis are worthless and is having a hard time accepting the fact that, you know, a district that is 65 percent white can elect a Somali refugee,” Omar said of Trump.
“He’s called African nations, you know, shitholes,” the Congresswoman continued. “This is not someone who has really hidden his hate for me and everything that I represent. And I resent anyone who says this president is not racist. I resent anyone who says, you know, this president is not a white supremacist, because for the last four years, and in his history, this president has told us who he is, and we can no longer tone — we can no longer turn a blind eye to that.”
“He’s destroying our country, and we have to make sure we defeat him,” Omar said.
Omar said Democrats have enthusiasm on their side and called for fellow party members to “join arms” and get rid of “this fascist in the White House.”
“What we have on the Democratic side is enthusiasm, for the first time, to join arms, to get rid of this fascist in the White House.”
Congresswoman, thank you so much for joining us.
First, I want to give you a chance and get your response to the president’s comments last night.
REP. ILHAN OMAR (D-MN): I mean, this man is a white supremacist, and so, it’s no surprise that he has ideas of feeling that Somalis are worthless and is having a hard time accepting the fact that, you know, a district that is 65 percent white can elect a Somali refugee.
But the truth is, 78 percent of them voted for me to come to Congress, and not only are Minnesotans welcoming of refugees, they have sent one to Washington to represent them. We are very clear that in Minnesota we are greater than hate. That is why he didn’t win Minnesota in 2016, and why he is not going to win Minnesota in 2020.
MOHYELDIN: The president’s comments, as I’m sure you are aware, came one day after the president refused to condemn the far right extremist group Proud Boys, then the next day saying he didn’t know who they were. I’m curious to get your thoughts about the actual impact of the president’s comments on your constituents and the citizens of Minnesota. What in real world implications do they actually mean?
OMAR: It’s completely terrifying, truly, to have the president not only condemn white supremacy but to tell them to stand back and stand by. Many people understand what the implications are when you have a president who is supposed to care for and protect the citizens of this country really speak to people who are listed as a hate group, people who have been responsible for the majority of the domestic terrorist threats that our country has faced, to stand down.
And they have responded accordingly and said, the president has told us to stand down because he’s going to call upon us to beat up people. And for my constituents and for constituents across the country, people are terrified.
Our country really is at a crossroads where people have to make a decision on a direction we want to go, and that direction has to be one that isn’t the vision of the America that the president sees, but a vision of what America should be and the kind of America we want to live on. I mean, it has been — yes.
MOHYELDIN: So let me ask you then real quickly — yes, just to pick up on that point, what about the president’s party? He is the head of the Republican Party. I’m curious to get your thoughts on a few things.
On one hand, I want to know what they are saying to you privately when they hear those types of comments, but also the echo chamber of some of these accusations and allegations that are being leveled against you by conservative and conspiracy theory silos in this country — and I’m sure you’re fully aware of them. We just had Steve Cortes on questioning your citizenship; he was raising questions about your ballot harvesting allegations based on Project Veritas.
So I want to get a sense from you how you reconcile, what you’re hearing in private, if you are hearing anything, and these questions and accusations and derogatory comments made by the president on down.
OMAR: I mean, these people are quite disgusting, really, just to be frank. The Republican Party in Minnesota has been targeting Somali refugees for as long as I can remember. And it’s no surprise that, you know, two days before his 2016 election, he came and targeted Somalis as well, and he continues to do that.
I am just a manifestation for their hate against Somali refugees because I happen to be a representative here in Congress. The reality is that in my election in 2018, I won with 78 percent of the votes. And in my last primary election, I got a hundred thousand votes casted for me. That is more than anyone in any of the primaries that have currently been reported, whether on the Democratic side or the Republican side, have been received. And in many cases, it’s more than the votes casted for both parties.
And so it is quite clear that it is not really a legitimate case that they’re making whether my election is legitimate or that there is a legitimate case that they make about whether my citizenship is legitimate, because I came to this country as a refugee at the age of 12. But what they make the case for is their hate for people who are of Somali descent, people who are Muslim, black immigrants.
You know, the president mocked his wife for wanting to go to Africa. He’s called African nations, you know, shitholes. This is not someone who has really hidden his hate for me and everything that I represent. And I resent anyone who says this president is not racist. I resent anyone who says, you know, this president is not a white supremacist, because for the last four years, and in his history, this president has told us who he is, and we can no longer tone — we can no longer turn a blind eye to that.
He’s destroying our country, and we have to make sure we defeat him.
MOHYELDIN: Let me ask you really quickly about the Democratic Party, if I can for a moment.
At the debate, President Trump was trying to drive a wedge between progressives like yourself and other members of the squad and Joe Biden, who said he was now the Democratic Party. Was he successful in discouraging people from voting?
OMAR: No, no. He clearly, you know, loves to create division, chaos, and that’s, you know, how he distracts people from his inability to lead, his inability to show any humanity and care for the 200,000 Americans who have lost their lives to COVID-19, including my own father, the economic crisis that our country is currently in, and the weakness of, you know, his messaging to the American people.
What we have on the Democratic side is enthusiasm, for the first time, to join arms, to get rid of this fascist in the White House.