U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Sunday that she has taken steps to ensure the safety of Rep. Ilhan Omar following President Donald Trump’s retweet of a video that purports to show the Minnesota Democrat being dismissive of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
The California Democrat also called on Trump to take down the video. Soon after her public request, the video disappeared from Trump’s Twitter feed.
Pelosi was among Democrats who had criticized Trump over the tweet, with some accusing him of trying to incite violence against the Muslim lawmaker who has already seen one upstate New York man face criminal charges for making death threats against her.
The White House defended Trump earlier Sunday, saying the president has a duty to highlight Omar’s history of making comments that others find offensive and that he wished no “ill will” upon the first-term lawmaker.
Pelosi, who was travelling 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 behaviour.
“The president’s words weigh a ton, and his hateful and inflammatory rhetoric creates real danger,” Pelosi 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, in which she described the 2001 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center as “some people did something,” along with news footage of the hijacked airplanes hitting the Twin Towers. Trump captioned his tweet with: “WE WILL NEVER FORGET!”
Critics accuse Omar of offering a flippant description of the assailants behind the attack that killed nearly 3,000 people. She later sought to defend herself by tweeting a quote from former U.S. President George W. Bush. Days after 9/11, the Republican president referred to the attackers as “people.”
Bush had said, “The people — the people who knocked those buildings down will hear all of us soon.”
“Was Bush downplaying the terrorist attack?” Omar asked.
Neither Trump’s tweet nor the video included Omar’s full quote nor the context of her comments, which were about Muslims feeling that their civil liberties had eroded after the attacks. The tweet continued to lead Trump’s Twitter feed on Sunday, with more than nine million views.
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.