Wednesday October 21, 2020
'Every time the president has invoked my name, it has incited violence against me,' the congresswoman said
Congresswoman Ilhan Omar has received hundreds of death threats since being elected to office (AFP/File photo)
Congresswoman Ilhan Omar has said US President Donald Trump's repeated attacks and insults are posing a threat to her life, after Trump went on the offensive this weekend saying the lawmaker "truly hates our country".
"Every time the president has invoked my name, it has incited violence against me," Congresswoman Omar told MSNBC.
"This president is creating an environment where he is threatening to lock up his political opponents, where people no longer understand that in a democracy we are supposed to debate policy differences but we are not supposed to harm one another," she said.
"And when you have a leader, the president of the United States, not understand that, then there is danger not only to our way of life but to our democracy and the ways it's supposed to function."
Fellow Minnesota Congresswoman Betty McCollum came to the defence of Omar on Tuesday, blasting Trump over his remarks.
"The president's vicious & disgusting attacks on my colleague @Ilhan & other women elected officials are unacceptable," McCollum tweeted.
"@Ilhan and I look forward to continuing to work together for Minnesotans in Congress when Pres. Trump is long gone from the White House.
In recent months, Trump has launched a number of attacks against Omar, attempting to cast the American legislator as a foreigner. Last month, Trump said Omar was telling Americans how to run "our country".
In June, he told his supporters that the congresswoman is a "hate-filled, America-bashing socialist".
"She would like to make the government of our country just like the country from where she came - Somalia. No government, no safety, no police, no nothing, just anarchy."
Omar, a refugee who fled from Somalia to the US at the age of 12, became one of the first two Muslim women elected to Congress in 2018, alongside Palestinian American Rashida Tlaib.
Since taking the oath of office early in 2019, Omar has become a favourite target for right-wing politicians. The congresswoman's supporters argue that Republicans often take her comments out of context to stir manufactured outrage and use racist and Islamophobic undertones to portray her as an outsider trying to undermine America.
The congresswoman has received hundreds of death threats since being elected to office, previously writing that a Trump tweet led to an increase in those threats on her life.
Last March, a New York man suggested that someone should "put a bullet in her skull", and was sentenced to a year in prison.
The threats became so severe that in 2019 Speaker Nancy Pelosi asked House officials to review security measures intended to protect Omar.