'Our country': Donald Trump renews racist attacks on Ilhan Omar
US President Donald Trump has renewed his racist attacks against Muslim-American Representative Ilhan Omar, telling a crowd of supporters that the congresswoman wants to turn "our country" into her native Somalia.
Speaking at a rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on Saturday, Trump bashed his political opponents and aired grievances against the media. And at a time of nationwide protests for racial justice, he implied that the Black congresswoman is a foreigner imposing her beliefs on Americans.
The US president addressed Omar by mispronouncing her first name as "Eel-ann" to boos from a smaller-than-expected crowd at his first rally since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. He warned that the congresswoman would be part of the US administration if the Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden wins in November.
"Omar is going to be very much involved in a Biden government," Trump said. "They will put this hate-filled, America-bashing socialist front and centre in deciding the fate of your family and deciding the fate of your country. I don’t think so.
"She would like to make the government of our country just like the country from where she came - Somalia. No government, no safety, no police, no nothing, just anarchy. And now, she's telling us how to run our country. No, thank you."
Before running for office, Trump promoted the conspiracy theory that then-President Barack Obama was not born in the United States. This so-called "birther movement" was largely seen as a racist campaign questioning the Americanism of the country's first Black president.
Saturday's attack was not the first time Trump had used racist undertones to criticise Omar.
In July 2019, he said the four progressive congresswomen of colour, known as the Squad, including Omar, should "go back and help fix the totally broken and crime-infested places from which they came."
A few days later, he falsely accused the congresswoman of supporting al-Qaeda. At a rally during the same month, his supporters started shouting "send her back" when he mentioned Omar, and he stopped his speech for several seconds to allow the chants to resonate.
Last year, Trump also retweeted a video of Omar dancing at a Congressional Black Caucus event on 13 September, falsely claiming that she was cheering on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
Omar, a Minnesota Democrat, came to the United States as a refugee from Somalia and became a US citizen in 2000 at the age of 17. Trump himself is married to an immigrant from Slovenia. First Lady Melania Trump has said she obtained US citizenship in 2006.
Trump's attack on the Muslim-American legislator comes less than a week after she lost her father to the coronavirus.
The congresswoman was quick to respond to the president, saying that he, not immigrants like herself, was responsible for the mounting death toll and economic crisis from the pandemic.
"Look, as the impeached President with over 100,000 Americans dead, 40,000,000 people without a paycheck, and massive protests across the country, maybe sit this one out," she wrote on Twitter.
"The only one failing to run our country is you, not this immigrant. Immigrants, we get the job done."
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) slammed Trump on Sunday over his remarks, calling on other Americans to denounce the US president as well.
"We are a nation of immigrants. Every decent American - and particularly public officials - should condemn and repudiate Trump’s racist national origin-based attack on Muslim Congresswoman Ilhan Omar," said Robert McCaw, CAIR director of the Government Affairs Department.
"Trump’s renewed racist attacks on Congresswoman Omar and his defence of Confederate traitors are nothing more than a desperate attempt to distract the nation from his own bungled response to the coronavirus pandemic and his hostility to growing protests against systemic anti-Black racism and police brutality," he added.