I don’t always agree with Ilhan Omar, but Trump’s attacks against her are dangerous
Article By Julie Jacobs // EEW Magazine // Politics
For what it’s worth, I don’t always agree with Ilhan Omar’s politics or statements, but I think we can all agree that the president making her a target of contempt and hatred is dangerous.
At his Thursday rally in Minnesota, the stomping grounds of the Somali-American U.S. Representative, Donald Trump used her face and name to stir up hateful passions among his base of support.
The 72-year-old called Omar "a disgrace to our country,” adding, “she is one of the big reasons that I'm going to win and the Republican Party is going to win Minnesota in 13 months."
The district is now held by Omar whom Trump enjoys making a symbol of the “radical” liberal Democratic Party. His attacks against the 38-year-old are viewed as racist by many, particularly after his past tweets telling her to “go back” to her country of origin if she wanted to criticize America.
Trump supporters broke into chants of “Send her back!” at a rally this summer in North Carolina and booed her Thursday.
It’s worth noting that, despite some Trump loyalists getting truly riled up, the president likely doesn’t have any genuinely strong feelings one way or the other about the lawmaker.
For him, aiming at the woman who repeatedly calls for his impeachment, is a political strategy and a very calculated move—though a very harmful one indeed.
Dangerous or not, Trump’s attacks on the “socialist” wing of the Democratic Party are the heart of his plan to hold onto the Rust Belt and become the first Republican presidential candidate to carry Minnesota since Richard Nixon in 1972. Trump fell about 45,000 votes short of beating Democrat Hillary Clinton statewide in 2016. He’s had staff in the state since June, and they have been busy building a network to turn out supporters next November.
The campaign needs to pump up Trump’s support in the rural and suburban areas he carried in 2016 to overcome Democratic strength in Minneapolis, St. Paul and some other cities, plus suburbs that swung Democratic in 2018. The Minneapolis rally also won media coverage for him well into western Wisconsin, widely seen as a critical battleground in 2020.
Politics is a dirty business. I get that. But human lives should be more valued than political strategies to garner votes. Inciting hatred against a woman of color by playing on and stoking xenophobic and racist fears, is ill-advised and just plain old wrong. Everyone, regardless of party affiliation, should condemn this kind of rhetoric.
Omar fired back on Twitter following the attack, writing, “At his rally just now, Trump called me an ‘America-hating socialist’ and a ‘disgrace.’ He shouted xenophobic conspiracy theories about me. He scolded my district for voting for me.”
But Omar, refusing to back down, added, “His hate is no match for our movement.”