War of words over Omar controversy jeopardizes Ocasio-Cortez trip to Kentucky coal mine

War of words over Omar controversy jeopardizes Ocasio-Cortez trip to Kentucky coal mine
© Stefani Reynolds

The snowballing reactions to a comment from freshman Rep. Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarOvernight Defense: Pentagon memo warns pandemic could go until summer 2021 | Watchdog finds Taliban violence is high despite US deal | Progressive Dems demand defense cuts Progressives demand defense budget cuts amid coronavirus pandemic Ocasio-Cortez endorses progressive Democrat in Georgia congressional primary MORE (D-Minn.) may have put the kibosh on Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezOcasio-Cortez challenger drops out of GOP primary Ocasio-Cortez posts experience getting antibody tested for COVID-19 The continuous whipsawing of climate change policy MORE’s (D-N.Y.) plans to visit a Kentucky coal mine.

In a battle that has largely played out on Twitter, Omar has come under fire for comments she made about people conflating all Muslims with terrorists after the Sept. 11 attacks.

Ocasio-Cortez came to her colleague and friend’s defense as conservatives accused the Minnesota Democrat of dismissing the gravity of the terror attacks with her comments, and directly accused Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas) of insincerity

Now, a Kentucky lawmaker who previously invited Ocasio-Cortez to visit a coal mine in his district has rescinded his offer over her comments to Crenshaw.

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Rep. Andy BarrAndy Hale BarrHouse GOP to launch China probes beyond COVID-19 Put entrepreneurs, workers and flexibility in next stimulus package McCarthy unveils new GOP-led China task force MORE (R-Ky.) posted a letter to Twitter Friday saying Ocasio-Cortez had acted uncivilly toward Crenshaw and urged her to apologize before visiting Kentucky.

“My invitation to you to come to Kentucky to learn how the Green New Deal could impact hard-working Americans in eastern and central Kentucky was in good faith with the expectation that you too were interested,” Barr wrote in his hand-delivered letter, which he also shared on Twitter.

“But your recent comments about Rep. Crenshaw demonstrate a lack of civility that is becoming far too common in the U.S. House of Representatives.”

Barr’s spur-of-the-moment offer came in a March hearing of the House Financial Services Committee. Ocasio-Cortez accepted, and both offices said trip planning was in the works.

According to Ocasio-Cortez’s office, it still is.

“We’re still looking at it,” Ocasio-Cortez spokesman Corbin Trent told The Hill, adding that doing so was part of the lawmaker’s commitment to advancing good policy.

When Barr initially made the offer, Ocasio-Cortez said, “I’d be happy to go to Kentucky, and I’d also like to note that in the Green New Deal, one of the things I advocate for is fully funding the pensions of coal miners in West Virginia and throughout Appalachia because we want a just transition to make sure that we’re investing in jobs across those swaths of the country.”

Barr’s beef with Ocasio-Cortez came after she criticized Crenshaw for comments he made about Omar.

Crenshaw tweeted that Omar was the “first Member of Congress to ever describe terrorists who killed thousands of Americans on 9/11 as ‘some people who did something.’”

Ocasio-Cortez responded, saying Crenshaw refuses “to cosponsor the 9/11 Victim’s Compensation Fund, yet have the audacity to drum resentment towards Ilhan w/completely out-of-context quotes.”

Barr's office did not respond to questions from The Hill about the civility of Crenshaw's comments about Omar, but said that Barr "loves to debate colleagues on the merits of various issues."

"He did, however, feel [Ocasio-Cortez's] comments that Rep. Crenshaw hadn’t 'done enough' to fight terrorism were simply out-of-line," Barr's office said.

Updated on April 16 at 2:37 p.m. to include comment from Barr's office.