Maryland state senator denies sending tweet calling Ilhan Omar 'illegal'

A Maryland state senator who recently launched a U.S. congressional bid is denying that he posted a now-deleted tweet calling Rep. Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarSanders 'very concerned about what appears to be a coup' in Bolivia Overnight Defense: Protests at Trump's NYC Veterans Day speech | House Dems release Pentagon official's deposition transcript | Lawmakers ask Trump to rescind Erdogan invite Ilhan Omar blasts Pete King as an 'Islamophobe' after he announces retirement: 'Good riddance' MORE (D-Minn.) an “illegal.”

Johnny Ray Salling (R) tweeted Monday that he needed to get the “record straight” and claimed that the tweet, sent on July 24, was not from him.

“I believe in God & Country 1st.  Please note-I don't react to statements of negativity,” Salling wrote. “Thanks to a dear friend for her letting me know about this issue. Thank you for your understanding & support.”

Salling deleted the weeks-old tweet, unnoticed until just days ago, after The Baltimore Sun reached out to him. 

“I need to look into that,” Salling told the newspaper. “Honestly and truly, I don’t recall that. I’m being honest with you. It might have been misplaced. I have tweeted one time, that’s the time I announced.”

“That’s not me. I don’t react that way. I don’t tweet that way and I don’t do Facebook that way,” he said.

He suggested his account was hacked and told the newspaper that he has since changed his passwords.

A screenshot of the tweet obtained by the Council on American-Islamic Relations reads: “get rid of this illegal know!!!”

It was written on Salling’s account in response to a tweet from a former GOP candidate in Florida calling for Omar to be removed from office.

It came shortly after Omar was at the center of international media coverage following a public feud with the president.

Trump tweeted on July 14 that Omar and three other nonwhite progressive congresswomen should "go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came."  

All of the women targeted — Omar, Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezSanders 'very concerned about what appears to be a coup' in Bolivia Trump celebrates resignation of Bolivia's president Sanders touts big crowds in Iowa rallies with Ocasio-Cortez MORE (D-N.Y.), Ayanna PressleyAyanna PressleyJustice Democrats official denies that progressives struggle with electability The Hill's Campaign Report: Bloomberg looks to upend Democratic race Progressive freshmen jump into leadership PAC fundraising MORE (D-Mass.) and Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibSanders: Fighting anti-Semitism 'is very personal' Bloomberg run should push Warren to the center — but won't Justice Democrats official denies that progressives struggle with electability MORE (D-Mich.) — are U.S. citizens. Only Omar was born outside of the country.

CAIR called on Salling to apologize and urged Maryland’s Republican Party to renounce Salling’s alleged remark.

"Regardless of personal views and biases, elected officials have a responsibility to conduct themselves impartially and to demonstrate that they can model tolerance and inclusivity for all of their constituents,” CAIR Director of Maryland Outreach Zainab Chaudry said in a statement to The Hill. “Senator Salling should apologize for his post or resign from public office.”

Salling is one of three Republicans who have registered to run against Democratic incumbent Rep. Dutch RuppersbergerCharles (Dutch) Albert RuppersbergerLawmakers toast Greta Van Susteren's new show Hillicon Valley: Senate passes bill to boost cyber help for agencies, businesses | Watchdog warns Energy Department failing to protect grid | FTC sues Match for allegedly conning users Senate approves bill to boost cyber assistance for federal agencies, private sector MORE in Maryland’s 2nd District, according to the Sun.