Donald Trump first went after Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) in April, though the ferocity of the president's attacks reached an alarming new level this morning.
Indeed, the Republican declared at a White House event that the Minnesota congresswoman "hates Israel," "hates Jews," "hates our country," and celebrates al Qaeda.
"I mean, I look at the one, I look at Omar. I mean, I don't know I never met her, I hear the way she talks about al Qaeda," Trump said. "Al Qaeda has killed many Americans. She said, 'you can hold your chest out, you can, when I think of America, huh, when I think of al Qaeda, I can hold my chest out,'" he said.It's unclear what comments Trump was referencing, but some conservative news sites have made an issue out of a 2013 interview in which she said her college professor's "shoulders went up" every time he mentioned Al Qaeda in a class on terrorism.Trump also referred to Omar's remarks in March about the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and Muslim civil rights, in which she mistakenly said the Council on American-Islamic Relations was founded in response to the terrorist attacks, adding "because they recognized that some people did something" — a phrasing that some in conservative media have interpreted as a flippant reference to the attack."When she talked about the World Trade Center being knocked down -- 'some people.' You remember the famous 'some people'?" Trump asked. "These are people that, in my opinion, hate our country."
I can think of countless examples of a president criticizing individual members of Congress, publicly and privately, often in aggressive and borderline-offensive ways.
But to hear a sitting president -- in public, at an official White House event -- call out a specific lawmaker as an America-hating terrorist sympathizer is extraordinary. That Trump did so while lying about the details of the congresswoman's record made the display just a bit worse.
In April, Omar was confronted with hundreds of death threats after the president went after her. I shudder to think how much more serious the security threats will be for the congresswoman now.