Trump’s Hateful Lies About Ilhan Omar
Rod Dreher says much of what needs to be said about the disgusting, hateful spectacle from Trump’s rally in North Carolina tonight:
And now, on the right, we have the man with the biggest megaphone in the country leading a mob in chanting for the expulsion of a political opponent — a US citizen! — from the country. I reject most everything that Ilhan Omar stands for, but this is degrading, disgraceful behavior from an American president. This is Two-Minute Hate stuff.
I agree with that, and I would just add a few more points. Trump’s lies about and attacks on Rep. Omar over the last several days are of a piece with his hostility to Muslims and his contempt for refugees and immigrants. He has made a point of targeting her on account of her race and religion. This is plain racist demagoguery, and it should be unequivocally condemned. No one has to like Omar’s politics to understand that she is being attacked primarily because of who she is and not because of anything that she has actually said or done.
Let’s understand what just happened: the president was inciting his followers to violence tonight. He had already put Rep. Omar’s life in jeopardy when he repeatedly spread the lie that she was “pro-Al Qaeda” in his previous statements. I said as much the other day:
These are filthy lies, and he is putting Omar in real danger by saying this https://t.co/enCLrAgfji
— Daniel Larison (@DanielLarison) July 15, 2019
Falsely claiming that someone is “pro-Al Qaeda” or that someone thinks Al Qaeda is “wonderful” is one of the most despicable things someone could say about any American, and to say it about a Muslim American is particularly dangerous and obnoxious. At this rally, Trump was whipping up hatred against her personally and by extension he was encouraging hatred against her community as well. Rep. Omar has already received numerous death threats, and the president’s attacks on her are guaranteed to lead to even more.
Rep. Omar has come under unfair and outrageous attacks from the very beginning of her term in office, and there is no question that she has been singled out so often because she is a Somali-American Muslim woman. When her colleagues and other critics ganged up on her and falsely accused her of anti-Semitism, that exposed her to real danger. When The New York Post promoted another scurrilous lie about Omar, that exposed her to more danger. Trump’s attacks copy and build on the earlier ones that have been made against her, and he is taking advantage of her party’s failure to defend her to pile on one attack after another. The fact that these attacks have been directed against a member of Congress should alarm everyone regardless of political views. Threatening a member of Congress in this way should be taken as a threat against the entire institution and all of its members.
It is not news that the president is a disgrace to his office, and today we were reminded that he is also a menace.