Former President Donald Trump in a statement on Tuesday accused Democratic Congresswoman Ilhan Omar of “abandoning” her birth country of Somalia. Omar, 39, emigrated to the United States as a refugee with her family after fleeing the war.
The Minnesota lawmaker has been the target of unabated attacks by extremist right-wing politicians. And besides accusing Omar of leaving Somalia, Trump’s statement included unfounded claims and right-wing conspiracy theories about the Muslim congresswoman, Independent reported.
“Congresswoman Ilhan Omar should apologize for marrying her brother, committing large-scale immigration and election fraud, wishing death to Israel, and for essentially abandoning her former country, which doesn’t even have a government — Exactly what she’d like to see for the United States,” Trump said in the statement. The former president’s wife, Melania, immigrated to the United States from her birth country of Slovenia.
The claim of Omar marrying her brother – which isn’t true – was reportedly propagated by Anton Lazzaro, a former Republican Party political strategist. Lazzaro claimed he was able to establish Omar’s ex-husband was her brother by matching DNA that was obtained from a straw her ex-husband had used. He, however, was unable to back his claims with substantiated evidence. Lazzaro is currently facing sex trafficking charges and he’s awaiting trial.
The other allegations Trump mentioned in his statement are also unsubstantiated, per Independent.
Born in Mogadishu, Somalia, Omar emigrated to the U.S. settling in Arlington, Virginia. Her family later moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1997.
Trump’s statement comes in the wake of recent Islamophobic comments Republican congresswoman Lauren Boebert made about Omar at an event. Those comments were captured on video. Boebert referred to her colleague lawmaker as a member of a “Jihad Squad.” Jihad in Islam means “holy war”. Boebert also made mention of another purported occasion where a Capitol police officer who encountered her and Omar in an elevator “had fret all over his face” when he set his eyes on Omar.
“Well, she doesn’t have a backpack. We should be fine,” Boebert alleged saying in reference to the Muslim lawmaker supposedly carrying a bomb. Omar, however, said that encounter never happened, and called on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to condemn Boebert’s comments, per Independent.
“Normalising this bigotry not only endangers my life but the lives of all Muslims,” Omar said. In the wake of the backlash, Boebert shared a Twitter post apologizing “to anyone in the Muslim community I offended with my comment about Rep. Omar.” She also said she had “reached out to her office to speak with her directly.”
And though the two women eventually spoke on phone, Omar reportedly hung up on her after they couldn’t find a common ground. Omar, at a press conference on Tuesday, played a death threat she had received in the wake of the Islamophobic comments.