Ilhan Omar: GOP response to calls for police reform 'was vicious'
© Greg Nash

Rep. Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarTrump campaign rolls out TV spots in early voting states after advertising pause Trump adviser Jason Miller: Biden running mate pick 'his political living will' 'Squad' member Rashida Tlaib faces strong primary challenger MORE (D-Minn.) penned a fiery new op-ed slamming Republicans for attacks on her recent comments on criminal justice reforms, calling for all people to “listen to those with backgrounds and circumstances other than our own.”

Omar in an op-ed published Wednesday by The Washington Post explained that she said in a news conference last week that “As long as our economic and political systems prioritize profit, without considering who is profiting and who is being shut out, we will perpetuate this inequality. So we cannot stop at the criminal justice system. We must begin the work of dismantling the whole system of oppression wherever we find it.”

Omar said in the Wednesday op-ed that she immediately faced accusations that she "had just called for getting rid of the entire U.S. economy and government.”


“Instantly, Donald Trump Jr. and right-wing 'media outlets' were amplifying the false claim," she wrote. "That evening, Tucker CarlsonTucker CarlsonTucker Carlson calls Fauci a 'fraud' after tense hearing Tucker Carlson calls Obama 'one of the sleaziest and most dishonest figures' in US political history Don't count out Duckworth in Biden VP race MORE dedicated a segment of his Fox News program to attacking me and Sen. Tammy DuckworthLadda (Tammy) Tammy DuckworthOvernight Defense: Embattled Pentagon policy nominee withdraws, gets appointment to deputy policy job | Marines, sailor killed in California training accident identified | Governors call for extension of funding for Guard's coronavirus response Biden should pick the best person for the job — not the best woman Trump adviser Jason Miller: Biden running mate pick 'his political living will' MORE (D-Ill.), another prominent woman of color, under the banner, 'We Have to Fight to Preserve Our Nation & Heritage'."

Trump shared a clip from Omar's speech last week, tweeting “Does @joebiden agree with his supporter @ilhanmn that we need to dismantle the United States economy and political system?” 

Carlson last week on his Fox News show “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” said "When vandals like Tammy Duckworth and Ilhan Omar tell us that we’re not allowed to question their patriotism, even as they scream about how horrible America is, we have every right to laugh in their faces, and we should,” The New York Times reported.

Omar said Wednesday that “it was something I’ve become accustomed to as a black Muslim woman in public life,” noting several of President TrumpDonald John TrumpMark Kelly clinches Democratic Senate nod in Arizona Trump camp considering White House South Lawn for convention speech: reports Longtime Rep. Lacy Clay defeated in Missouri Democratic primary MORE’s criticisms against her. 

President Trump has previously shared video footage of remarks Omar gave last year at the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). The lawmaker said “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.”

However, her comment that “some people did something” has been a target of criticism from some GOP leaders and groups.

But she pushed back on the criticism, calling it a sign of weakness.


“Such continued distortions are a sign of the president’s weakness among voters. We know his team wouldn’t be relying so heavily on racist distortions if it were confident in its policies’ popularity,” Omar shared Wednesday. 

“But it’s also something female leaders and leaders of color have dealt with for years. Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonThe Hill's Campaign Report: Even the Post Office is political now | Primary action tonight | Super PACS at war Should Biden consider a veteran for vice president? Biden leads Trump by nearly 40 points in California: poll MORE’s every move was scrutinized from her earliest days as first lady of Arkansas; President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaBass honored US Communist Party leader in unsurfaced remarks WNBA players wear 'Vote Warnock' shirts in support of Loeffler Democratic challenger Michelle Obama wishes Barack a happy birthday: 'My favorite guy' MORE was hounded by claims that he was Muslim and not born in the United States. Minnesota Attorney General Keith EllisonKeith Maurice EllisonVermont has a chance to show how bipartisanship can tackle systemic racism Is Ilhan Omar one and done? Why she could lose the August primary Amazon warehouse worker claims she was written up for taking too many breaks MORE, the first Muslim member of Congress and my predecessor, was subject to an anti-Muslim smear campaign when he ran for Democratic Party chair,” she continued.

Omar added that “Fear of the 'other' — whether it is someone of a different country of origin, a different race or a different religion — stems, I believe, from the myth of scarcity.”

“This mentality pits minority groups against one another in a fight for scraps, and those who benefit from the status quo are happy to see us distracted and bickering. Particularly during a pandemic, we all can worry too much about what we lack — instead of seeing our futures as linked and interdependent,” Omar said.

The Minnesota lawmaker wrote that “We need to jettison the zero-sum idea that one person’s gain is another’s loss.” She added, “I want your gain to be my gain; your loss to be mine, too.” 

“The more we listen to those with backgrounds and circumstances other than our own, the more we can find parallels to our own experience," she concluded. "That’s why we cannot afford to be silent about systems of oppression. We can’t eradicate our problems unless we put ourselves in the shoes of others and craft solutions that work for all."