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Omar responds to Trump attacks: 'This man is a white supremacist'

Omar responds to Trump attacks: 'This man is a white supremacist'
© Bonnie Cash

Rep. Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarMeet the three Democrats who could lead foreign affairs in the House Biden Cabinet picks largely unify Democrats — so far GOP congresswoman-elect wants to form Republican 'Squad' called 'The Force' MORE (D-Minn.) said Thursday she was not surprised by President TrumpDonald John TrumpPennsylvania Supreme Court strikes down GOP bid to stop election certification Biden looks to career officials to restore trust, morale in government agencies Sunday shows preview: US health officials brace for post-holiday COVID-19 surge MORE’s attacks targeting her during his rally the night before in Omar's home state as the president warned of the dangers of allowing refugees to settle in Minnesota. 

“I mean, this man is a white supremacist, so it’s no surprise that he has ideas or feelings that Somalis are worthless,” Omar said on MSNBC. 

“Not only are Minnesotans welcoming of refugees, they have sent one to Washington to represent them,” she added, referring to herself. “We are very clear that in Minnesota we are greater than hate. That is why he didn't win Minnesota in 2016, and why he's not going to win Minnesota in 2020.”

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Omar, who is seeking reelection for her second term to represent Minnesota’s 5th Congressional District, came to the U.S. as a Somali refugee when she was a teenager. 

Trump took aim at the congresswoman as he complained about Democratic presidential nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenPennsylvania Supreme Court strikes down GOP bid to stop election certification Biden looks to career officials to restore trust, morale in government agencies Biden transition adds new members to coronavirus task force MORE’s pledge to significantly increase refugee admissions after Trump cut them during his first term in office. 

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"What is going on with Omar?" Trump said, citing unproven claims tying Omar to a ballot harvesting scheme. "I’ve been reading these reports for two years about how corrupt and crooked she is. Let’s get with it. Let’s get with it."

Trump’s supporters at the rally broke into a chant of “lock her up” after Trump’s comments about Omar. The chant originated in 2016 during Trump’s campaign against Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonGroups seek to get Black vote out for Democrats in Georgia runoffs Biden's political position is tougher than Trump's Valadao unseats Cox in election rematch MORE

Omar said Trump’s remarks and accusations tying her to a ballot harvesting scheme are part of a long tradition of Republicans in her state targeting Somali refugees.  

“The Republican Party in Minnesota has been targeting Somali refugees for as long as I can remember,” she said. “I am just a manifestation of their hate against Somali refugees because I happen to be a representative here in Congress."

Omar, one of the most progressive members of her party, said she resents anyone who says Trump is not racist or a white supremacist, noting that during Tuesday night’s presidential debate, Trump did not explicitly condemn white supremacy when asked, and told the far-right Proud Boys group to “stand back and stand by.” 

“For the last four years and in his history this president has told us who he is and we can no longer turn a blind eye to that,” she said. “He’s destroying our country and we have to make sure we defeat him.”

The day after the debate, facing intense criticism of his on-stage remarks, Trump told reporters he didn’t know who the Proud Boys are and said the group should “stand down.”