At least someone in the Democratic caucus has the stones to say that Trump's rhetoric kills, and once again it's Rep. Ilhan Omar taking a stand. The problem is that Omar has her own critics.
Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, one of the first two Muslim women in Congress, accused President Trump on Saturday of inciting hatred of Islam and inspiring attacks like the killing of 50 people last weekend in a mass shooting at mosques in New Zealand.
In a speech to a packed hotel ballroom at a Muslim civil-rights banquet in Woodland Hills, the newly elected Democratic congresswoman said the New Zealand attack by a white supremacist fit a pattern of threats and assaults at American mosques and schools.
“We all kind of knew that this was happening,” she said. “But the reason I think that many of us knew that this was going to get worse is that we finally had a leader in the White House who publicly says Islam hates us, who fuels hate against Muslims, who thinks it is OK to speak about a faith and a whole community in a way that is dehumanizing, vilifying.”
Trump, she told the crowd, “doesn’t understand, or at least makes us want to think that he doesn’t understand, the consequence that his words might have. Some people like me know that he understands the consequences. He knows that there are people that he can influence to threaten our lives, to diminish our presence.”
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said last week that it was outrageous to suggest Trump had any responsibility for the New Zealand shooting.
Omar’s speech at the Council on American-Islamic Relations dinner sparked a protest hours earlier of more than 100 people outside the hotel. Police closed a stretch of Canoga Avenue, and uniformed officers stood watch over demonstrators waving Israeli and U.S. flags and calling Omar an anti-Semite.
Several of them marched with an enlarged photo of Omar, a Somali immigrant, with a swastika over her face and the slogan: “Your Hate Makes Us Stronger.”
Omar has said some pretty controversial stuff and that's being ridiculously generous. At the same time, she's one of the few Democrats willing to call Trump out in an attempt to stop normalizing his behavior.
I'm good with that. It's what we need right now.