Rep. Ilhan Omar on Trump's racist attack: 'He spreads the disease of hate'
Posted September 23, 2020 10:35 a.m. EDT
Updated September 23, 2020 2:44 p.m. EDT
CNN — Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar hit back at President Donald Trump, calling him "racist" after he disparaged her Tuesday during a campaign rally and falsely implied that she's not American.
"The President clearly loves to prey on people's fears. He spreads the disease of hate everywhere he goes, and these cult rallies that he's holding across the country are now being fueled by fear, and it is no surprise that he is so fearful of winning Minnesota that he has to resort to this hate," Omar told CNN's Brianna Keilar on "Right Now" Wednesday.
"Not only is he a racist, but he's a racist xenophobic. Because he's not against immigration, he's just against immigrants who look like me," she added.
"She's telling us how to run our country. How did you do where you came from? How is your country doing?" Trump said Tuesday night at his rally in Moon Township, Pennsylvania.
Trump's comments come as he faces a tough reelection against his 2020 rival Joe Biden and has chosen to run a racially divisive campaign, digging into cultural battles.
Omar told CNN on Wednesday said the attacks from the "highest office in the country" are "completely reshaping the societal outlooks of our country, and it's quite shameful."
The Democratic congresswoman said that the 2020 election will be an opportunity for Americans to "respond cohesively and say, 'This is not who we are. These are not what our founding principles were based on, and this is not the country we want to be.' "
She had first responded to Trump's comments on Twitter Tuesday night, saying, "This is my country & I am a member of the House that impeached you."
"Secondly, I fled civil war when I was 8. An 8-year-old doesn't run a country even though you run our country like one," she added.
CNN has reached out to the Trump campaign.
Omar was one of the first two Muslim women elected to Congress in 2018 and won the Democratic primary race for a second term last month. Born in Somalia, she and her family fled civil war in their country and sought asylum in the United States in 1995. Omar became an American citizen in 2000 at the age of 17, according to The New York Times.
Omar, who's one of four progressive congresswomen of color known as the "Squad," has been a high profile target of criticism from Republicans and the President, who regularly targets her on Twitter and at campaign rallies.
Trump also denigrated the Minnesota congresswoman in her home state last month as "a horrible woman who hates our country" and insinuated that she may not have won her recent primary election.
"Let's check the mail-in vote," Trump told the crowd, adding. "Where are the people that would vote for her?"
Last summer, in a series of racist tweets, Trump told Omar and the other members of the "Squad" who have been outspoken against his policies -- Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Tlaib -- to "go back" to their supposed home countries, though they were born in the United States and Omar is a naturalized citizen.
Following his tweets, Trump's supporters at a campaign rally in North Carolina chanted "send her back," which was directed at Omar, as the President stood silently. He later claimed to disavow the chants.
Trump has also promoted false smears against Omar and questioned her patriotism, highlighting some of her controversial comments on issues including Israel, law enforcement and the September 11th terrorist attacks.
Trump, who has his own history of pushing anti-Semitic tropes, criticized Omar for tweets last year that were widely condemned as anti-Semitic, which she later apologized for.