House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Sunday that she has asked the U.S. Capitol Police to increase its protection of Rep. Ilhan Omar after President Donald Trump tweeted a video of the Minnesota Democrat spliced with footage of the burning twin towers.
"Following the President's tweet, I spoke with the Sergeant-at-Arms to ensure that Capitol Police are conducting a security assessment to safeguard Congresswoman Omar, her family and her staff," Pelosi, D-Calif., said in a statement. "They will continue to monitor and address the threats she faces."
Trump's tweet on Friday prompted accusations from some Democrats that he was engaging in Islamophobia, inciting violence and politicizing one of America's gravest tragedies.
The video in Trump's tweet included a snippet from a recent speech Omar gave to the Council on American-Islamic Relations -- in which she described the 2001 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center as "some people did something" -- along with news footage of the hijacked airplanes hitting the twin towers. Trump captioned his tweet with: "WE WILL NEVER FORGET!"
Critics accuse Omar, one of the first two Muslim women elected to Congress, of being flippant in describing the perpetrators of the attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people. Omar, who immigrated with her family to the U.S. as a teenager after living in a Kenyan refugee camp, sought to defend herself by tweeting a quote from President George W. Bush, in which the Republican referred to the attackers as "people" just days after 9/11.
Neither Trump's tweet nor the video included Omar's full quote or the context of her comments, which were about Muslims feeling that their civil liberties had eroded after the attacks.
Pelosi had come under criticism from some Democrats, including Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, for an earlier statement in which she condemned the video Trump shared but made no mention of Omar.
On Sunday, in addition to mentioning Omar, Pelosi called on Trump to "take down his disrespectful and dangerous video." Soon after her public request, the video was no longer pinned atop Trump's Twitter feed, but it was not deleted.
"The President's words weigh a ton, and his hateful and inflammatory rhetoric creates real danger," she said.
Rep. Jerrold Nadler, a New York Democrat who represents Manhattan's financial district, which was targeted on 9/11, said he had no issues with Omar's characterization of the attack.
"I have had some problems with some of her other remarks, but not -- but not with that one," he said.
"She just said that, after that happened, it was used as an excuse for lots of discrimination and for withdrawal of civil liberties," Nadler said.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders defended Trump earlier Sunday, saying the president has a duty to highlight Omar's history of making comments that others deem anti-Semitic or otherwise offensive.
"Certainly the president is wishing no ill will and certainly not violence toward anyone, but the president is absolutely and should be calling out the congresswoman for her -- not only one time -- but history of anti-Semitic comments," Sanders said. "The bigger question is why aren't Democrats doing the same thing? It's absolutely abhorrent the comments that she continues to make and has made, and they look the other way."
Sanders commented on Fox News Sunday and ABC's This Week. Nadler appeared on CNN's State of the Union.
Earlier this month, a man in New York was arrested and charged with threatening to kill Omar, whom he described as a "terrorist," prosecutors said. He also told FBI agents that he loves Trump, "and that he hates radical Muslims in our government," authorities said. The next day, Trump criticized Omar during a speech to a conservative Jewish group, declaring that she "doesn't like Israel."
Information for this article was contributed by Felicia Sonmez and Colby Itkowitz of The Washington Post; by Darlene Superville of The Associated Press; and by Ros Krasny of Bloomberg News.
A Section on 04/15/2019
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