Donald Trump attacked controversial remarks by Muslim-American congresswoman Ilhan Omar describing 9/11 as ‘some people did something’ Friday with a tweet showing graphic images of the attack and its aftermath.
He tweeted ‘WE WILL NEVER FORGET!’ and a 43 second video which showed Omar’s comment, at a speech to the Council of American-Islamic Relations, interspersed with footage from September 11.
The graphic footage is also interspersed with a black screen with a quote of what she said.
His intervention came after Omar compared her controversial comment to one George W. Bush made after the attack, suggesting Friday that he would have faced similar backlash if he were Muslim.
Graphic: How the video tweeted by Donald Trump played out – a graphic political attack on Ilham Omar for her original comments
‘Was Bush downplaying the terrorist attack? What if he was a Muslim,’ she asked on Twitter.
The Washington Post first noted that Bush once referred to the terrorists as ‘the people who knocked these buildings down’ in remarks at Ground Zero a few days after the attack.
Omar piggybacked on the example in a tweet that linked to the original article.
She had said at a fundraiser for the Council on Islamic Relations that the organization ‘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.
‘So you can’t just say that today someone is looking at me strange and that I am trying to make myself look pleasant. You have to say that this person is looking at me strange, I am not comfortable with it, and I am going to talk to them and ask them why. Because that is the right you have,’ she stated.
The remarks earned her new criticism, having already weathered allegations that she’s an anti-Semite.
‘First Member of Congress to ever describe terrorists who killed thousands of Americans on 9/11 as “some people who did something,”‘ GOP Rep. Dan Crenshaw said in an accusatory tweet. ‘Unbelievable.’
Rep. Ilhan Omar compared her controversial 9/11 comment to one George W. Bush made after the attack, suggesting Friday that he would have faced similar backlash if he were Muslim
Standing atop rubble, President George W. Bush rallies firefighters and rescue workers during an impromptu speech at the site of the collapsed World Trade Center in New York City on September 14, 2001
Moment of history: George W Bush held on to Bob Beckwith, a retired FDNY firefighter who had come to Ground Zero to help what was by then a search for human remains. They were standing on top of rubble which was over a fire truck and Beckwith, then 69, and now 85, handed a bullhorn to the president, who waved aside the Secret Service and told him to stay
Omar is seen here in the House chamber earlier in April. Lawmakers were attending a retreat on Friday when she made her comment about Bush
Fox & Friends’ Brian Kilmeade said on the morning program he co-hosts, ‘You have to wonder if she’s an American first.’
The New York Post on Thursday even went as far as to splash a photograph one of the World Trade Center towers collapsing in a ball of flames, with the banner: ‘Rep. Ilhan Omar: 9/11 was ‘some people did something.’
The Washington Post’s fact checker pointed out that Bush once said something similar in a Sept. 14, 2001 speech, when he spoke through a bullhorn at Ground Zero.
Bush told rescue workers in an impromptu speech through a bullhorn that the nation mourns victims of the Twin Towers attack.
‘I can’t hear you!’ one told him. Bush said, ‘I can hear you! I can hear you! The rest of the world hears you! And the people — and the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon!’
It was part of an intentional effort by Bush not to refer to the attackers as Muslims.
Three days after the impromptu speech delivered by bullhorn, Bush visited the Islamic Center of Washington D.C. to condemn attacks on Muslims.
He said: ‘The face of terror is not the true faith of Islam. Islam is peace. These terrorists don’t represent peace. They represent evil and war.
‘Those who feel like they can intimidate our fellow citizens to take out their anger don’t represent the best of America, they represent the worst of humankind, and they should be ashamed of that kind of behavior.’
Omar connected the dots on Friday and pointed out in a tweet that Bush did not come under assault for having referred to the attackers as ‘people’ instead of murderers or terrorists.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said at a news conference shortly after Omar sent the tweet that she had not connected with the congresswoman yet.
The New York Post even went as far as to splash a photograph one of the World Trade Center towers collapsing in a ball of flames, with the banner: ‘Rep. Ilhan Omar: 9/11 was “some people did something”‘
Ocasio-Cortez took on Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas), who had blasted Omar’s comments and circulated a short clip
‘I haven’t had the opportunity to speak with her to see the nature of her comment, and as is my custom with colleagues I call them in before I call them out. So I’ll look forward to hearing from her,’ she said. ‘She was in transit, we tried to reach her, she was in transit. So I’ll have some comment after I do speak to her.’
Democrats were at a retreat in Northern Virginia on Thursday, where the comments, that were revealed in an April 8 video posted to Twitter, were a topic of discussion.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez defended her colleague to reporters staking the retreat out.
‘We are getting to the level where this is an incitement of violence against progressive women of color,’ the New York representative said.
Ocasio-Cortez smacked Crenshaw on Twitter for declining to cosponsor the 9/11 Victim’s Compensation Fund while having the ‘audacity to drum resentment towards Ilhan w/completely out-of-context quotes.’
She told the Texas congressman to ‘go do something’ about Republicans making insensitive comments.
Omar also hit out at the ‘double standards’ she faces, telling The Late Show host Stephen Colbert that she is ‘as American as everyone else,’ and suffers from anti-Muslim discrimination.
Last week, New York authorities arrested a man for allegedly threatening to ‘put a bullet in her [expletive] skull.’
Defending her right to speak freely, she told Colbert: ‘I took an oath – I took an oath to the Constitution. I am as American as everyone else is.’
The issue of whether to link al Qaeda and other terrorist attacks including 9/11 to Islam became a campaign issue in 2016 when Trump accused former Barack Obama of refusing to call out ‘radical Islamic terrorism.’
He then leveled the same charge at Hillary Clinton, accusing her of being in ‘total denial’ for not calling the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida, the work of a radical Islamic terrorist.
She had tweeted: ‘Islam is not our adversary. Muslims are peaceful and tolerant people, and have nothing whatsoever to do with terrorism.’
Trump said, ‘She is in total denial. And her continuing reluctance to ever name the enemy broadcasts weakness across the world.’
However, when he made his first foreign trip as president to Saudi Arabia, the home country of a majority of the 9/11 attackers and its mastermind Osama bin Laden, he struck a different note.
‘This is not a battle between different faiths, different sects, or different civilizations,’ Trump said. ‘This is a battle between barbaric criminals who seek to obliterate human life, and decent people of all religions who seek to protect it.’