Democrats defend Omar after Trump retweets video against her

Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., sits with fellow Democrats on the House Education and Labor Committee during a bill markup, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, March 6, 2019. (AP)
Updated 14 April 2019

Democrats defend Omar after Trump retweets video against her

  • Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont said Omar “won’t back down to Trump’s racism and hate, and neither will we”
  • Pelosi, who was in Germany visiting US troops Saturday, said in a statement that “the memory of 9/11 is sacred ground” and should always be discussed “with reverence”

WASHINGTON: Top Democrats on Saturday rushed to defend Rep. Ilhan Omar after President Donald Trump retweeted video that was edited to suggest she was being dismissive of the significance of the worst terrorist assault on US soil.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi scolded Trump for using the “painful images of 9/11 for a political attack” against the first-term Minnesota Democrat.
And presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren, campaigning in New Hampshire, accused Trump of “trying to incite violence and to divide us, and every political leader should speak out against that.”
The video Trump retweeted Friday pulls a snippet of Omar’s recent speech 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,” and includes news footage of the hijacked planes hitting the Twin Towers. Trump also tweeted, “WE WILL NEVER FORGET!“
Omar’s remark has drawn criticism largely from political opponents and conservatives who say the lawmaker, one of the first Muslim women to serve in Congress, offered a flippant description of the assailants and the attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people.
Neither Trump’s tweet nor the video included her full quote or the context of her comments.
Omar told CAIR in Los Angeles that many Muslims saw their civil liberties eroded after the attacks, and she advocated for activism.
“For far too long we have 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,” she said in the March 23 speech, according to video posted online. “CAIR was founded after 9/11 because they recognized that some people did something and that all of us were starting to lose access to our civil liberties.”
CAIR was founded in 1994, according to its website, but its membership skyrocketed after the attacks.
Many Republicans and conservative outlets expressed outrage at Omar’s remarks. Fellow Democrats, including some who have disagreed with Omar in the past, defended her.
“First Member of Congress to ever describe terrorists who killed thousands of Americans on 9/11 as ‘some people who did something,’” tweeted Rep. Dan Crenshaw, R-Texas. The retired Navy SEAL lost his right eye in 2012 in an explosion in Afghanistan.
“Here’s your something,” the New York Post blared on its cover beneath a photograph of the flaming towers.
Pelosi, who was in Germany visiting US troops Saturday, said in a statement that “the memory of 9/11 is sacred ground” and should always be discussed “with reverence.” The California Democrat said it is wrong for Trump to “fan the flames to make anyone less safe.”
Omar didn’t appear to be backing down.
She tweeted a quote from President George W. Bush, who said days after the attacks: “The people — and the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon!“
“Was Bush downplaying the terrorist attack?” Omar tweeted. “What if he was a Muslim.”
Several of the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates condemned Trump’s tweet.
Former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke, said the Republican president’s tweet was an “incitement to violence” against Omar, who is Muslim-American, and others like her. O’Rourke, campaigning in South Carolina, likened the tweet to Trump’s rhetoric about Mexicans, described in the past by Trump as murderers and rapists. O’Rourke said “there is a cost and there is a consequence” to Trump’s comments.
Warren, a Massachusetts senator, said Republican leaders in Congress “cannot take a pass on this, cannot look the other way and pretend it isn’t happening. It is happening. And those who don’t speak out in the Republican leadership are complicit in what he is doing. It’s wrong.”
Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar noted that a New York man recently was charged with threatening Omar’s life.
“The video the president chose to send out today will only incite more hate,” Klobuchar said. “You can disagree with her words — as I have done before — but this video is wrong. Enough.”
Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont said Omar “won’t back down to Trump’s racism and hate, and neither will we.”
Omar repeatedly has pushed fellow Democrats into uncomfortable territory over Israel and the strength of the Jewish state’s influence in Washington. She apologized for suggesting that lawmakers support Israel for pay and said she isn’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.
Her comments sparked an ugly episode among House Democrats after they responded with a resolution condemning anti-Semitism and the measure became a broader declaration against all forms of bigotry.


Armenia accuses Azerbaijan of attacking settlements in disputed region

Updated 27 September 2020

Armenia accuses Azerbaijan of attacking settlements in disputed region

  • Armenia’s Defense Ministry said its troops downed 2 Azerbaijani helicopters and 3 drones in response to an attack
  • Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry said it launched a military operation along the “contact line”

YEREVAN: Armenia said early on Sunday that neighboring Azerbaijan had attacked civilian settlements in the Nagorno-Karabakh region and urged the population in the disputed region to seek refuge in shelters.
Armenia’s Defense Ministry said that its troops had downed two Azerbaijani helicopters and three drones in response to an attack it said began at 0410 GMT against civilian settlements, including the regional capital of Stepanakert.
“Our response will be proportionate, and the military-political leadership of Azerbaijan bears full responsibility for the situation,” the Armenian Defense Ministry said in a statement.
Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry, in turn, said it had launched a military operation along the “contact line,” a heavily-mined no-man’s-land that separates the Armenian-backed forces from Azeri troops in the region, Russian news agencies reported.
The ministry said that an Azerbaijani helicopter had been downed but that its crew had survived.

Meanwhile, Turkey vowed complete support for Baku and called on Armenia to give up its “aggression.”
“We will support our Azerbaijani brothers with all our means in their fight to protect their territorial integrity,” Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said in a statement.
Turkey is a key ally of Baku with close cultural and linguistic ties with Azerbaijan.
Ankara has no diplomatic relations with Yerevan due to a dispute over the mass killings of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire which Armenia says is a genocide.
“The greatest obstacle to peace and stability in the Caucasus is Armenia’s aggression, and it should give up this aggression which will throw the region into fire,” Akar said.
Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin “strongly” condemned the clashes and said Armenia “once again violated international law and (has) shown that it has no interest in peace and stability.”
He called on the international community to “say stop to this dangerous provocation” in a tweet.
“Azerbaijan is not alone. It has Turkey's full support,” Kalin added.
The Turkish foreign ministry in a statement went further, promising: “However Azerbaijan wants, we will stand by Azerbaijan in that manner.”
The two former Soviet countries have long been in conflict over Azerbaijan’s breakaway, mainly ethnic-Armenian region of Nagorno-Karabakh, and border clashes have intensified in recent months.
Armenia’s Foreign Ministry condemned what it called the “aggression of the military-political leadership of Azerbaijan” and said the Armenian side would deliver an appropriate military and political response.
Ethnic Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh declared independence during a conflict that broke out as the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991.
Though a cease-fire was agreed in 1994, Azerbaijan and Armenia frequently accuse each other of attacks around Nagorno-Karabakh and along the separate Azeri-Armenian frontier.