By Susan Cornwell
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump attacked Democratic U.S. Representative Ilhan Omar as an “out of control” purveyor of “hate” speech on Monday before leaving for a visit to the state the Muslim-American represents in Congress.
Writing on Twitter, Trump blasted both Omar and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for defending Omar after he tweeted a video on Friday suggesting Omar had been dismissive of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
“Before Nancy, who has lost all control of Congress and is getting nothing done, decides to defend her leader, Rep. Omar, she should look at the anti-Semitic, anti-Israel and ungrateful U.S. HATE statements Omar has made,” Trump said. “She is out of control, except for her control of Nancy!”
Omar’s and Pelosi’s offices had no comment on Monday.
The Minnesota congresswoman said on Sunday evening that she had experienced “an increase in direct threats on my life – many directly referencing or replying to the president’s video.”
“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,” Omar wrote in a tweeted statement.
Marc Lotter, an adviser to Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign, denied Trump was inciting violence.
“I don’t think it is the president who’s putting her in danger. I think it’s her ill-thought-out words that she used to describe the greatest terror attack on the history of United States soil,” Lotter told CNN on Monday.
The video tweeted by Trump spliced news footage of 9/11 with a clip from a speech Omar gave last month in which she said “some people did something” in reference to the attacks.
Lawmakers from Trump’s Republican Party have accused Omar of minimizing the Sept. 11 attacks, while critics of the president say he took Omar’s words out of context in order to stoke anti-Muslim sentiment.
Later on Monday, Trump plans to visit a trucking company in Burnsville, Minnesota, about 15 miles (24 km) outside Minneapolis. The venue is in the state’s second congressional district, which is south of and partially adjacent to the fifth congressional district represented by Omar.
The Minnesota branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a Muslim civil rights and advocacy group, will hold a rally in support of Omar outside the company.
Omar was speaking at a CAIR banquet in California in March when she made her controversial remarks about 9/11. Omar also said Muslims had “lived with the discomfort of being a second-class citizen and, frankly, I’m tired of it, and every single Muslim in this country should be tired of it.”
The White House said Sunday that Trump did not wish any harm in his Twitter post about Omar.
The House of Representatives approved a broad resolution condemning bigotry last month after remarks by Omar that some members of both parties viewed as anti-Semitic.
(Reporting by Susan Cornwell; Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Tom Brown)