In a recent interview, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) took a shot at the intelligence of American voters who do not agree with her politics, claiming “ignorance really is pervasive in many parts of this country.”
Speaking with host John Nicols during an appearance on The Nation’s “Next Left” podcast on May 21, the freshman congresswoman discussed issues related to immigration policy and claimed that some American voters have been misled by Republicans about the process of resettlement.
“[T]he Republicans are really good at misinformation and sort of really reorganizing facts to sort of paint a picture that really eventually is not rooted in fact,” she told Nicols.
She claimed that some Minnesotan Republicans were trying to stop immigrants from coming into the state.
“And I remember I wrote this tweet and I said, you know, I wish that you would take the time to at least educate yourself about how the resettlement program works,” she said. “There are agencies that run the resettlement program. This is, this is a process that’s run through them. If you end that contract, it’s not that refugees are not going to be resettled, it’s that the state just doesn’t get informed. And so the only leverage you have is that you are part of this contract and you can be part of the negotiations on how many people get resettled in your state.”
She continued: “And so it is not that they might not be knowledgeable about this, but they use it as a tool to stir up hate and division. And ignorance really is pervasive in many parts of, of this country. And as someone who was raised by educators, I really like to inform people about things that they might be ignorant to, willingly or unwillingly.”
Over the past several months, the Minnesota Democrat drew widespread condemnation for a number of comments she had made in recent interviews or for her social media posts that have re-emerged from the past.
In early May, Omar argued on a left-leaning program that U.S. sanctions are to blame for the collapse of Venezuela under illegitimate dictator Nicolás Maduro.
“A lot of the policies that we have put in place has kind of helped lead the devastation in Venezuela,” Omar said during an interview with the Democracy Now! program. “And we’ve sort of set the stage for where we’re arriving today.”
She continued, “This particular bullying and the use of sanctions to eventually intervene and make regime change really does not help the people of countries like Venezuela, and it certainly does not help and is not in the interest of the United States.”
Moreover, Omar denounced President Donald Trump’s support for Venezuela’s Juan Guaidó, calling the interim president’s party “far-right” and their fight against Maduro, a “coup,” even though Maduro is considered illegitimate by many nations.
“A US backed coup in Venezuela is not a solution to the dire issues they face. Trump’s efforts to install a far right opposition will only incite violence and further destabilize the region,” Omar said on Twitter, on Jan. 24.
Vice President Mike Pence said in an interview with Fox News’s “Fox & Friends” on May 10 that Omar has “no place” on the House Foreign Affairs Committee and called on the Democratic leadership to oust her.
“Look, Ilhan Omar has made statements, antisemitic comments, statements against our most cherished ally, Israel, that ought to be rejected by every American,” Pence said. “And frankly, the fact that very recently she has been trying to blame the United States of America for the deprivation and poverty brought on by the dictatorship in Venezuela.”
Additionally, Pence said that Omar’s speech and actions should ultimately be judged by the people of Minnesota.
“The people of Minnesota will decide whether or not she remains in Congress,” he said. “Congresswoman Omar has no place on the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the Democratic leadership ought to remove her.”