Congresswoman Ilhan Omar says her criticism of Obama was distorted

Democrat Ilhan Omar is interviewed by The Associated Press Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2018, in Minneapolis after winning Minnesota’s 5th Congressional District race in Tuesday’s election. She will be the first Somali American to serve in Congress and one of the first two Muslim women to serve in Congress. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)


Minnesota Congresswoman Ilhan Omar has made a habit of infuriating colleagues and adversaries in her short time in the House.

After being repeatedly accused of anti-Semitism through multiple tweets and dubious statements, she has now taken aim at former President Barack Obama. In a new interview with Politico Magazine, she appears to compare Obama to President Donald Trump.

Omar said that Obama was just a “pretty face” and called his agenda a mirage. She cited the “caging of kids” at the Mexican border and the “droning of countries around the world” on Obama’s watch

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“We can’t be only upset with Trump,” she said in the profile. “His policies are bad, but many of the people who came before him also had really bad policies. They just were more polished than he was,” she said.

“And that’s not what we should be looking for anymore,” she added. “We don’t want anybody to get away with murder because they are polished. We want to recognize the actual policies that are behind the pretty face and the smile.”

Omar, a freshman in Congress, is a Somali-American Muslim who spent four years in a refugee camp in Kenya after her family fled the violence in Somalia. Over the last month, she has been under constant scrutiny for repeated tweets and comments about the United States’ relationship with Israel.

In early February, Omar responded to a tweet about House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy’s threats to punish her and another congresswoman for criticizing Israel by tweeting, “It’s all about the Benjamins baby.”

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The comment, which mirrored tropes thrown out by the likes of Trump during the 2016 campaign, drew immediate pushback from Jewish Americans and members of both parties.

The tweet was compounded by a 2012 tweet where she said: “Israel has hypnotized the world, may Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel.” The reference to Jewish people hypnotizing people is another common trope.

The ensuing firestorm angered the newly formed Democratic House majority and spurred days of tense negotiations that led to a resolution condemning bigotry on Thursday.  Despite the fallout, Omar said to Politico that this is what we can expect.

“I am certainly not looking to be comfortable, and I don’t want everyone necessarily to feel comfortable around me,” she said. “I think really the most exciting things happen when people are extremely uncomfortable.”

Omar has since taken to Twitter to clarify her comments and cited that her words were distorted.


Her response sparked a response from the Politico reporter who states that his version is 100 percent accurate.