Rep. Ilhan Omar on Wednesday called the conservative attacks lobbed against her “dangerous incitement” after Republicans and Fox News insinuated she was downplaying the 9/11 terror attack.
Omar, a Democrat and Somali-American from Minnesota, is under fire by the right for comments she made last month. At a fundraiser for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) in Los Angeles, Omar said, in part, that “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.” The comments circulated in right-wing media this week, with conservatives interpreting them as minimizing the terrorist attack.
On Wednesday, Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade questioned if the Somali-American is “an American first.” Then he proceeded to lecture her about her religious faith. “As a Muslim-American, you should be more outraged because they sullied your religion,” he said. “In the name of religion they killed Americans and still do it on a daily basis.”
Kilmeade later attempted to backtrack, tweeting, “I didn’t intend to question whether Rep. Omar is an American - I am questioning how any American, let alone a United States Congresswoman, could downplay the 9/11 attacks.”
On Tuesday, the chair of the Republican National Committee, Ronna McDaniel called Omar “anti-American.”
“Nearly 3,000 Americans lost their lives to Islamic terrorists on 9/11, yet Omar diminishes it as: ‘Some people did something,’” she wrote. “Democrat leaders need to condemn her brazen display of disrespect.”
Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) called the comments “unbelievable.”
“First member of Congress to ever describe terrorists who killed thousands of Americans on 9/11 as 'some people who did something,’” he wrote.
Omar responded to critics on Wednesday afternoon on Twitter.
“I hope leaders of both parties will join me in condemning it,” she wrote. “My love and commitment to our country and that of my colleagues should never be in question. We are ALL Americans!”
Omar, the first of two Muslim women to serve in Congress, has been attacked by the right long before her CAIR comments.
Last month, Fox host Jeanine Pirro went on an Islamophobic rant, attacking the congresswoman for wearing a hijab. “Omar wears a hijab. Is her adherence to this Islamic doctrine indicative of her adherence to Sharia law, which in itself is antithetical to the United States Constitution?”
Fox News briefly suspended the host, issuing a statement at the time: “We strongly condemn Jeanine Pirro’s comments about Rep. Ilhan Omar. They do not reflect those of the network and we have addressed the matter with her directly.” She returned to even higher ratings.
Last week, a Trump supporter was arrested for allegedly threatening to assassinate her. The West Virginia GOP came under fire last month after setting up a display in its capitol rotunda with a meme that showed planes crashing into the World Trade Center that said “‘Never Forget’—You Said.” Below it, a photo of the congresswoman read “I am proof—you have forgotten. In February, federal prosecutors said a right-wing extremist put her name on a hit list of Democrats.