At the end of yet another controversy-filled day, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) sat down with Stephen Colbert on The Late Show and tried to show the world she’s not actually as scary as Fox News wants you to think she is.
Colbert began the interview by noting that he had booked his guest “a long time ago,” before she had become a “lightning rod” for those on both the right and the left.
“If you think about, historically, where our nation is right now, there are many members of our community that their identities are a lightning rod,” Omar, the first of two Muslim women in Congress, said, explaining that immigrants, refugees, women of color and others are being used as “political footballs.” She “just happens to embody all of those identities.”
Beginning with the comments that some have deemed anti-Semitic, Colbert asked Omar what it was like to be “used as a political cudgel” from the very start of her first term as a congresswoman.
“This whole process really has been one of growth for me,” Omar replied, acknowledging that she was not always aware of the tropes that may have been offensive to some Jewish people. “When you tell me you are pained by something that I say, I will always listen and I will acknowledge your pain,” she said. But the same should go in the other direction.
“When you have people on Fox News question whether I am actually American or I put ‘America first,’ I expect my colleagues to also say, ‘That’s not OK’ and call that out,” she continued, referring to comments earlier Wednesday morning from Fox & Friends host Brian Kilmeade. To those who question her loyalty to America, Omar said, “I took an oath to uphold the Constitution. I am as American as everyone else is.”
She went on to call out the “double standard” of criticizing her supposed “insinuations” but not going after “people like the folks on Fox & Friends who actually say those words.”
“They actually said that I might not be an American, that my loyalties might not be to this country,” Omar continued, “but I get called out. They don’t. They get to keep their show.”
One recent comment that got Omar in trouble was when she referred to Trump adviser Stephen Miller as a “white nationalist.” That made Colbert aware of the double standard she referred to when he thought to himself, “Haven’t I said that?”
“You see this outrage when I speak the truth,” Omar said in response. “Everybody else’s truth is allowed, but my truth can never be.”