Pelosi moves to ensure Ilhan Omar's safety, calls for Trump to take down video
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Sunday that she's taken steps to ensure the safety of Rep. Ilhan Omar following President Trump’s tweet of a video that, according to critics, showed the Minnesota Democrat being dismissive of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
The California Democrat also called on Trump to take down the video. That same day, the video was no longer pinned to the top of Trump’s Twitter feed, although it was not clear whether it was because of Pelosi's request.
Pelosi was among numerous Democrats who had criticized Trump over the tweet, with some accusing him of trying to incite violence against the Muslim lawmaker.
The White House defended Trump earlier Sunday, saying the president had a duty to highlight Omar’s history of comments that others have found offensive and that he wished no “ill will” upon the first-term lawmaker.
Pelosi, who was traveling in London, issued a statement saying she had spoken with congressional authorities after Trump’s tweet “to ensure that Capitol Police are conducting a security assessment to safeguard Congresswoman Omar, her family and her staff.”
“They will continue to monitor and address the threats she faces,” the speaker said. She called on Trump to discourage such behavior.
“The President’s words weigh a ton, and his hateful and inflammatory rhetoric creates real danger,” Pelosi also said. “President Trump must take down his disrespectful and dangerous video.”
The video in Trump’s tweet included a snippet from a recent speech Omar gave to the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). She had said, in her defense of the organization, that CAIR was founded after Sept. 11, 2001 “because they recognized that some people did something and that all of us were starting to lose access to our civil liberties.” CAIR had been formed in 1994.
The video tweeted by Trump also included news footage of the terror attacks on the Twin Towers. Trump captioned his tweet with: “WE WILL NEVER FORGET!”
Critics accused Omar of offering a flippant description of the attackers who killed nearly 3,000 people. She later sought to defend herself by tweeting a quote from President George W. Bush. Days after 9/11, the Republican president referred to the attackers as “people.”
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders questioned why Democrats weren’t following Trump’s example and calling out Omar, too. Democrats who criticized the president over the tweet defended Omar. Some also noted their past disagreements with her.
“Certainly the president is wishing no ill will and certainly not violence towards anyone, but the president is absolutely and should be calling out the congresswoman for her not only one time but history of anti-Semitic comments,” Sanders said. “The bigger question is, why aren’t Democrats doing the same thing? It’s absolutely abhorrent the comments that she continues to make and has made and they look the other way.”
Omar repeatedly has pushed fellow Democrats into uncomfortable territory with comments about Israel and the strength of its influence in Washington. She apologized for suggesting that lawmakers support Israel for pay and said she wasn’t criticizing Jews. But, she refused to take back a tweet in which she suggested American supporters of Israel “pledge allegiance” to a foreign country.
Rep. Jerry Nadler, a New York Democrat whose constituents include Manhattan’s financial district, which was targeted on Sept. 11, 2001, said he had no issues with Omar’s characterization of the attack.
“I have had some problems with some of her other remarks, but not -- but not with that one,” he said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.