Trump launches attack on Ilhan Omar by repeating conspiracy theories from right-wing blog

Congresswoman responded on social media to say ‘his hate is no match for our movement’

Andrew Buncombe
Thursday 10 October 2019 22:38 BST
Trump launches blistering attack on Ilhan Omar by repeating conspiracy theories from right-wing blog

Donald Trump has launched a scathing attack on congresswoman Ilhan Omar, accusing her of being anti-semitic and anti-American, during a rally in her home city.

In a barrage of accusations, many of which Mr Trump admitted he lifted from a right wing website that claimed without evidence she had married her brother, the president claimed the Democratic congresswoman had spoken “tangled lies”.

“Congresswoman Omar is an American-hating socialist. How do you have such a person representing you in Minnesota,” the president said in a speech that also attacked the mayor of Minneapolis, and the decision to admit refugees from Somalia. “She is a disgrace to our country.”

On a day when images emerged that showed the president in the company of two men linked to Rudy Giuliani and who were arrested at Dulles Airport on campaign finance charges, he also levelled a coarse insult at Joe Biden, claiming he was only considered a good senator because he “learned how to kiss Barack Obama’s ass”.

He also attacked House speaker Nancy Pelosi as “really stupid”, in a display of insult and swagger that is likely to presage how the president will campaign for re-election over the coming year.

Mr Trump’s appearance in Minneapolis, the largest city in a state the president only narrowly lost to Hillary Clinton, was the first since Democrats on Capitol Hill launched a formal impeachment investigation against him.

They did so after a whistle-blower from the US intelligence community claimed the president improperly sought help from Ukraine in digging up dirt on Mr Biden and his son, Hunter.

Mr Trump, along with many of his supporters, have sought to dismiss the claims as nothing more than a “witch hunt”. “The Bidens got rich, and that is substantiated, while America got robbed,” he said, repeating a claim for which there is no evidence.

Mr Trump knows Democrats in the House have sufficient votes to impeach him, but hopes Republicans in the Senate would vote against, enabling him to stay in office and continue his re-election campaign.

“They want to erase your vote like it never existed. They want to erase your voice, and they want to erase your future,” Mr Trump said, as the crowd in the city’s Target Centre roared him on.

“The Democrats’ brazen attempt to overthrow our government will produce a backlash at the ballot box the likes of which they have never ever seen before in the history of this country.”

Fox News poll shows more than half of Americans think Donald Trump should be impeached

In a line that also drew loud applause from many of the 20,000 or so people in the sports stadium, Mr Trump bragged about his decision to cut by 85 per cent, the numbers of people accepted by the country’s refugee programme.

He said Minneapolis, which has a large Somali refugee population, had allowed too many refugees to enter without consideration for the local community.

Ahead of the rally, political observers suggested Mr Trump would likely turn his focus on Ms Omar, one of four Democratic congresswomen the president previously told to “go back”. Ms Omar, 38, who came to the US as a teenager after spending time in a refugee camp in Kenya, was last year elected as one of the nation’s first two Muslim congresswomen.

In her first year in office, she has been a frequent target of the president’s ire, as have the three other members of the so-called “Squad” – Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Tlaib.

By attacking her, observers said, the president was seeking to portray the entire Democratic Party as “extreme”. Ms Omar has denied accusations she is anti-semitic or anti-American, even though some supporters say some of her early remarks were not well thought through.

“He’s looking to stir up trouble,” Richard Painter, former ethics lawyer for George W Bush and professor of corporate law at the University of Minnesota, told The Independent.

“He wants to make it seem that Ilhan Omar is the typical Democrat, and try and paint that picture.”

Minnesota Democratic–Farmer–Labour Party chairman Ken Martin said rather than seeking to address the prescription drug costs or stagnant wages, Mr Trump “is coming to our state after spending the week attacking our hardworking public servants and facing scandals on every front”.

During his rally, which was attended by Mike Pence and where the president’s son Eric Trump warmed up the crowd with chants of “lock her up”, a slogan from his 2016 run against Ms Clinton, the president claimed Republicans would win there in 2020. The last Republican president to win the state was Richard Nixon, in 1972.

“This is a great state,” said Mr Trump. “We are going to win this state.”

Additional reporting by agencies

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