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In Face of Death Threats, Omar Says We Must Confront White Nationalism

After many threats on her life, Rep. Ilhan Omar speaks out.

Rep. Ilhan Omar speaks as Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Bernie Sanders listen during a news conference on prescription drugs January 10, 2019, at the Capitol in Washington, D.C.

Rep. Ilhan Omar on Sunday issued a call to confront the rise of white nationalism in the United States, noting she has seen an increase in death threats since President Donald Trump tweeted an out-of-context clip of her recent remarks on the bigotry Muslim Americans faced after 9/11.

“Since the president’s tweet Friday evening, I have experienced an increase in direct threats on my life — many directly referencing or replying to the president’s video,” the Democrat from Minnesota said in a statement Sunday night.

“Violent crimes and other acts of hate by right-wing extremists and white nationalists are on the rise in this country and around the world,” Omar added. “We can no longer ignore that they are being encouraged by the occupant of the highest office in the land.”

Since the president’s tweet — and the right-wing media’s smears against Omar that preceded it — progressives have urged Democratic leaders and 2020 presidential candidates to stand up for the Minnesota congresswoman.

“Enough is enough. No more silence, with NY Post and now Trump taking Ilhan’s words out of context to incite violence toward her, it’s time for more Dems to speak up,” tweeted Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) late Friday. “Clearly the GOP is fine with this shameful stunt, but we cannot stand by.”

As some Democrats — including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) — were slammed for issuing tepid responses to the president’s tweet, Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) were among those who released strong statements standing with Omar and condemning the dangerous right-wing attacks.

“The president is inciting violence against a sitting congresswoman — and an entire group of Americans based on their religion,” Warren tweeted Friday evening. “It’s disgusting. It’s shameful. And any elected leader who refuses to condemn it shares responsibility for it.”

Sanders tweeted:

Read Omar’s full statement:

Since the president’s tweet Friday evening, I have experienced an increase in direct threats on my life — many directly referencing or replying to the president’s video. I thank the Capitol Police, the FBI, the House Sergeant at Arms, and the Speaker of the House for their attention to these threats.

Violent crimes and other acts of hate by right-wing extremists and white nationalists are on the rise in this country and around the world. We can no longer ignore that they are being encouraged by the occupant of the highest office in the land. Counties that hosted a 2016 Trump rally saw a 226 percent increase in hate crimes in the months following the rally. And assaults increase when cities host Trump rallies. This is particularly concerning given the president’s visit to my home state of Minnesota on Monday.

Violent rhetoric and all forms of hate speech have no place in our society, much less from our country’s Commander in Chief.

We are all Americans. This is endangering lives. It has to stop.

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