Are Trump's remarks that Rep. Ilhan Omar "hates our country" racist?


Fact Box

  • Ilhan Omar is a Representative for Minnesota’s 5th Congressional District, and is the “first Somali-American Member of Congress, the first woman of color to represent Minnesota, and one of the first two Muslim-American women elected to Congress.”
  • Omar was born in Mogadishu, Somalia in 1981. Her family left the country during the Somali Civil War when she was 8 years old, and spent four years in a Kenyan refugee camp before moving to the US in 1995. 
  • Last month, President Trump slighted congresswoman Oman as 'a horrible woman who hates our country.'
  • On Tuesday, he also complained that Rep. Ilhan Omar should not be giving advice on how to run the US, referencing the state of her birthplace. Omar replied, “Firstly, this is my country, and I am a member of the House that impeached you.”
  • Housing Secretary Ben Carson has referenced Trump as “not racist,” stating his efforts at the Mar-a-Lago resort. “When he bought Mar-a-Lago, he was the one who fought for Jews and blacks to be included in the clubs that were trying to exclude them.”
  • During Trump’s presidency, the black unemployment rate has dropped, black labor force participation is on an upward trajectory, and the number of black Americans with a job has risen by 600,000.

Kevin (Yes)

Among other things, what Donald Trump said goes hand in hand with recent declarations made about Rep. Omar, including 'She's telling us how to run our country. How did you do where you came from? How is your country [Somalia] doing?' This statement suggests Trump doesn't consider America to be her country, though she is a naturalized citizen who moved stateside as a minor. Trump has a history of making such comments that are variations of the 'go back where you came from' trope, including saying similar things to, or about, Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, and Ayanna Pressley, all women of color to which he said should 'go back' to the countries they came from. Ironically, the above three mentioned were born in the US. Such remarks are certainly racist, having been described by those victimized by the claim as 'so emotional, even more than a racial slur.' The same sentiment is behind the 'birtherism' nonsense Trump and his political peers used to try to smear Obama, and are now trying to use against Kamala Harris.

Love for one's country is not about blind obedience. As Beau of the Fifth Column points out, 'Patriots do not obey no matter what—that's nationalists. Patriots owe their allegiance to a place and a way of life. If the way of life is wrong, they will attempt to correct it.' Ilhan Omar may criticize our country's actions and the conditions here, but she does so in an attempt to improve things for the people who live here.

Bill (No)

Trump's remarks that Rep. Ilhan Omar 'hates our country' are not racist, but merely factual. Rep. Omar has a documented pattern of making anti-American remarks. In one of the most notorious examples of her brazen anti-American stance, in 2017, she tweeted a false claim about Mogadishu's 1993 battle in Somalia (her native country) in which she accused American forces of killing thousands of Somalis, adding the inflammatory 'NotTodaySatan' hashtag. In another incendiary comment, she glossed over the 9/11 attacks, insulting the memory of those whose lives were lost that terrible day, by casually and insensitively remarking that 'some people did something.'

By calling out Rep. Omar for her history of anti-American declarations, Trump was making a point about why it's essential to ensure we do not turn the country over to 'Progressives' who think like Rep. Omar. Trump's comment, which Rep. Omar calls racist, had nothing to do with her race, but more on the state of her country of origin when compared to the United States. The claim of racism has no foundation. The truth behind Trump's statement, however, does. 

Rep. Omar's anti-American views are so extreme that her own Congressional colleagues introduced a resolution in July condemning her for them. The resolution was prompted by remarks Rep. Omar made in early July in which she called for supporters to dismantle America's 'system of oppression.' 

Ironically, it's Rep. Omar, not President Trump, who is known for making racist comments, including a 2018 interview in which she claimed 'Americans should be more fearful of white men than of Islamist terrorists.' President Trump's remarks in Pennsylvania yesterday were simply a reminder to voters about what's at stake in the upcoming election.

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