But minutes after my news conference, the Republican National Committee clipped 27 seconds of my speech and added a false caption that said I had just called for getting rid of the entire U.S. economy and government. Instantly, Donald Trump Jr. and right-wing “media outlets” were amplifying the false claim. That evening, Tucker Carlson dedicated a segment of his Fox News program to attacking me and Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), another prominent woman of color, under the banner, “We Have to Fight to Preserve Our Nation & Heritage.” My congressional office and social media feeds were instantly flooded with hate speech, calls for deportation, and, as is so often the case, death threats.
It was something I’ve become accustomed to as a black Muslim woman in public life. Donald Trump explicitly called all Somali immigrants a “disaster” for Minnesota at a 2016 campaign rally in my state. As soon as I was elected, the Republican Party announced it would make racial division an explicit strategy. It has followed through on that promise. Early in my term, the president tweeted another deceptively edited video of me, implying that I celebrated the 9/11 attacks (itself an Islamophobic dog whistle). As recently as last week, the Trump campaign produced a video calling former vice president Joe Biden a “Trojan horse” for me and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.).