The White House denies President Donald Trump is inciting violence and Islamophobia for a tweet critical of Democratic Congresswoman Ilhan Omar and her seemingly dismissive comment about the September 11 attacks.
“Certainly the president is wishing no ill will and certainly not violence towards anyone,” White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders told Fox News Sunday. “But the president should be calling out the congresswoman for not only one time but a history of anti-Semitic comments,” she added, accusing Omar’s fellow Democrats of “looking the other way.”
But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the memories of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attack on New York and Washington are “sacred ground and any discussion of it must be done with reverence.”
Democratic Congressman Jerrold Nadler said on CNN Sunday he had no problem with Omar’s comments.
“I have had some problems with some of her other remarks, but not with that one,” he said.
In an emotional speech last month to the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Omar spoke out against discrimination against and suspicions of Muslims.
“CAIR was founded after 9/11 because they recognized that some people did something, that all of us were starting to lose access to our civil liberties … for far too long we have lived with the discomfort of being a second-class citizen and, frankly, I’m tired of it and every single Muslim in the country should be tired of it,” she said.
Trump’s Friday tweet included Omar’s brief line “somebody did something” followed by more than 40 seconds of September 11 terrorist attack news footage and a large graphic repeating the words “somebody did something.”
Other Omar critics have focused solely on that one single line, accusing her of trivializing the inhumanity of September 11 but not mentioning the rest of her speech.
Some Democrats accuse Trump of stirring up the same kind of Islamophobia that Omar was decrying.
Nadler sais Trump has “no moral authority” for talking about September 11. He accuses Trump of “stealing” a $150,000 grant meant for small-business owners to rebuild their destroyed businesses after the attack and using that money for his own real estate holding.
Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders noted that then-President George W. Bush, a Republican, went to a mosque after 9/11 to assure Muslim Americans that they are not criminals and terrorists.