A recent profile of Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) said the freshman lawmaker slammed America as unjust in a recent speech to high school students, denigrated America for not meeting her expectations, and even criticized her fellow Democrats in Congress.
According to the profile by the Washington Post, Omar recently addressed 400 high school students in Minnesota about her personal experience in coming to America from a Kenyan refugee camp, and how it was nothing like she expected.
“I grew up in an extremely unjust society, and the only thing that made my family excited about coming to the United States was that the United States was supposed to be the country that guaranteed justice to all,” she told the students, according to the Post. “So, I feel it necessary for me to speak about that promise that’s not kept.”
She later told the Post about how an orientation video she watched before coming to America looked nothing like what she experienced after she came to New York City, calling it cramped, dirty, and populated by panhandlers.
“This doesn’t look like the America you promised,” Omar said she told her father. Her father replied, “We’re not in our America yet.”
She said she learned she was the “extreme other,” after she arrived in America at 12. “I was black. I was Muslim. I also learned I was extremely poor and that the classless America that my father talked about didn’t exist,” she said.
She also told students a story she later admitted could be somewhat fabricated, about an old African American lady who had been arrested for stealing a $2 loaf of bread to feed her “starving 5-year-old granddaughter.”
She told the students that the woman spent the weekend in jail, and was then led into a courtroom and fined $80, which she could not pay. Omar said she yelled in the courtroom, “Bulls—!”
The Post said her story echoed the plot of Les Miserables, and if her story is true, “it is also probably embellished.” The Post also added that “City officials said that police aren’t allowed to arrest people for shoplifting unless there’s a likelihood of violence or further crime. Typically, shoplifters are sentenced to attend a three-hour class.”
Omar admitted to the Post that she may have flubbed some facts.
“She might have had a prior [arrest],” Omar told the Post. “I’m not sure. . . . The details might not have all matched, but that’s what I remember.”
The profile glossed over reports that Omar had filed a joint tax request with the father of her children even though she was legally married to someone else.
Despite recent reports from the Associated Press and Minnesota’s largest paper the Star Tribune covering her joint tax filing, the Post wrote: “Conservative blogs dug into her complicated marital history. She and the father of her three children split temporarily in the 2000s but still filed joint tax returns in 2014 and 2015, when Omar was legally married to someone else.”
Omar, in the profile piece, criticized her colleagues for overreacting to her tweet “it’s all about the Benjamins” in reference to Israel buying off supporters in the U.S.
“There is an almost demonized view that people have of us that makes it really hard for others to see us as their neighbors, their friends and as their colleague as a member of Congress,” she told the Post, adding that such attitudes also afflicted her Democratic colleagues.
The profile also addressed Omar’s letter of support for men who were convicted in 2016 for trying to travel to Syria to fight for the Islamic State. Omar urged rehabilitation instead of prison time in the letter.
The Post wrote: “She had known other young men from school who died fighting for al-Shabab, the al-Qaeda affiliate in Somalia.”
The report added Omar has tried to keep her distance from the case, which she knew was “politically toxic” and “an easy opportunity for her enemies to paint her as un-American.”