Racist remarks against Muslim-American Congresswoman Ilhan Omar are becoming a regular feature of President Donald Trump’s speeches at campaign rallies in the run-up to November’s US election.
During a speech delivered in the swing state of Pennsylvania late on Tuesday, Trump renewed his attacks on Omar, saying the Somalia-born US legislator was telling Americans how to run “our country”.
“She’s telling us how to run our country,” Trump told his supporters. “How did you do where you came from? How is your country doing?”
The Minnesota Congresswoman, who easily fended off a well-financed primary challenge last month, was quick to hit back at Trump on Twitter, questioning why the president and his supporters are “obsessed” with her.
“Secondly, I fled civil war when I was 8. An 8-year-old doesn’t run a country even though you run our country like one.”
On Wednesday, she continued to push back against the president, accusing him of preying on people’s fears.
“He spreads the disease of hate everywhere he goes, and these cult rallies that he’s holding across the country are now being fuelled by fear, and it is no surprise that he is so fearful of winning Minnesota that he has to resort to this hate,” Omar told CNN.
Race for Minnesota
Trump said at Tuesday’s rally that he would win Minnesota, a swing state he narrowly lost to Hillary Clinton in 2016 alongside Omar’s rise.
Last week, Trump warned at a rally in Minnesota that his Democratic opponent Joe Biden would turn the state into a “refugee camp”.
“How the hell did she win the election? How did she win? It’s unbelievable,” Trump said of Omar.
Early on Wednesday, Omar’s campaign cited Trump’s most recent attack in a fundraising email to supporters, saying that turnout in her district would help defeat the president.
“I’ve lost count of how many times Donald Trump and Republicans have tried to undermine our movement, from snide comments at rallies to deceptive mailers to violent attack ads,” Omar said in the email.
“But we can’t let their hatred and division distract us. For every attack, we need to send out another street team to get out the vote to win this election and defeat Trump in Minnesota.”
In July 2019, Trump said the four progressive congresswomen of colour, known as the Squad, including Omar, should “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime-infested places from which they came”.
‘Running on hate’
This is not the first time Trump has cast the American legislator as a foreigner.
In June, he warned his supporters that the congresswoman would be involved in a Biden administration if the Democrats win in November.
Omar had endorsed Biden’s progressive rival, Bernie Sanders, in the Democratic primaries – but subsequently backed the party’s nominee.
“They will put this hate-filled, America-bashing socialist front and centre in deciding the fate of your family and deciding the fate of your country. I don’t think so,” Trump said at the time.
“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. And now, she’s telling us how to run our country. No, thank you.”
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 a foreigner trying to undermine America.
“President Trump is yet again running on hate,” Muslim Advocates, a rights group, said in a tweet on Wednesday, commenting on Trump’s attacks on Omar.