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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 OmarDemocrats poised to impeach Trump again Pence opposes removing Trump under 25th Amendment: reports Pelosi vows to impeach Trump again — if Pence doesn't remove him first 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. 

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“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.

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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."  

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All of the women targeted — Omar, Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezOcasio-Cortez: Facebook, Zuckerberg 'bear partial responsibility' for insurrection Belfast's Troubles echo in today's Washington AOC's Ministry of Truth MORE (D-N.Y.), Ayanna PressleyAyanna PressleyBelfast's Troubles echo in today's Washington Federal government carries out 13th and final execution under Trump The Hill's Morning Report - Biden asks Congress to expand largest relief response in U.S. history MORE (D-Mass.) and Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibBiden and the new Congress must protect Americans from utility shutoffs Overnight Energy: EPA rule exempts many polluting industries from future air regulations | Ex-Michigan governor to be charged over Flint water crisis: report | Officials ousted from White House after papers casting doubt on climate science Ex-Michigan governor to be charged over Flint water crisis: report 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 RuppersbergerHillicon Valley: House panel says Intelligence Community not equipped to address Chinese threats | House approves bill to send cyber resources to state, local governments House approves legislation to send cybersecurity resources to state, local governments Hillicon Valley: 'Fortnite' owner sues Apple after game is removed from App Store | Federal agencies seize, dismantle cryptocurrency campaigns of major terrorist organizations MORE in Maryland’s 2nd District, according to the Sun.