Well, I guess this story isn’t going to be over today after all. Friday afternoon, President Trump joined in the criticism of Rep. Ilhan Omar’s dismissive comments about 9/11 by posting a video clip showing her comments at a CAIR gathering in Los Angeles last month interspersed with video of the attack on the Twin Towers.
Since the fact-checkers at the Washington Post didn’t seem to understand what people were upset about, maybe this will help them get it. It’s very blunt but it’s basically the same point the NY Post was making with its cover: Show some respect for the honored dead by not talking about 9/11 like it was a minor incident barely worth mentioning at all.
When I initially wrote about this, it was a minor spat between two Members of Congress who are essentially equally powerful. Rep. Crenshaw had a valid point about Omar’s dismissive reference to the worst terrorist attack in U.S. history as “something.” And Omar’s refusal to rephrase it was a mistake, though hardly surprising given her recent history of shooting her mouth off.
Trump weighing in on this feels a little bit like shooting a fly with a bazooka. I think a more subtle mention would have been more effective. But it’s not as if the left is going to be subtle in their response. Trump is already being decried as a monster for posting this. Just as Omar complained initially that Rep. Crenshaw was inciting violence against her (he wasn’t) now MSNBC’s Chris Hayes is turning that same argument on Trump.
The President is actively and willfully endangering the life of a member of Congress.
— Chris Hayes (@chrislhayes) April 12, 2019
And here comes AOC saying essentially the same thing:
Members of Congress have a duty to respond to the President’s explicit attack today.@IlhanMN’s life is in danger. For our colleagues to be silent is to be complicit in the outright, dangerous targeting of a member of Congress.
We must speak out.
“First they came…” pic.twitter.com/ygOX1vhE9j
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) April 12, 2019
Do people like Hayes and Ocasio-Cortez, who suggest the right is creating a dangerous climate of hate, believe that’s ever the case on the left? Is Bernie Sanders responsible for the shooting of Rep. Scalise? No, of course not, they’ll say. Is Black Lives Matter responsible for the shooting of police officers in Dallas or Baton Rouge or New York? Of course not, they’ll say. So it seems this is just another way for partisans to attempt to silence their opponents. They won’t use this standard for themselves but they seek to apply it to others.
And for the record, no one is saying Rep. Omar should be silent. She deserved criticism for speaking in a way which made light of the deaths of nearly 3,000 Americans. All she needed to do was say she misspoke and correct herself. But the resistance can’t do that anymore. Showing respect for the honored dead is a sign of weakness, apparently. She has to play the victim and I’m very certain she’ll redouble her efforts now.
Look, it’s possible some right-wing nut out there will do something crazy. There are some crazy people out there. It’s also possible some left-wing nut will try to kill the president or the Koch Brothers or Sean Hannity or any other person the left really hates with a burning passion. I’m sure Trump gets far more death threats than any Member of Congress and yet I don’t see people like Chris Hayes playing tone police about strong language on his side of the aisle. In fact, you can find thousands of angry people attacking Trump right now in the responses to that video clip. None of them seem too worried about the tone they are setting. Either this cuts both ways or it doesn’t cut at all.
But, hey, it’s not as if the left makes this disingenuous argument to attack and silence every message they don’t like.
"Unplanned," a shameless anti-abortion propaganda film playing in thousands of screens throughout the country, could easily radicalize people and incite violence https://t.co/czLMiE5JJ9
— Callie Beusman (@cal_beu) April 12, 2019
[Note: The tweet above was protected after this story went up.]
Update: Earlier today Rep. Crenshaw said the reaction to his criticism of Rep. Omar, esp. from AOC, has been a new low in partisanship and dishonesty.
This week was a new low in partisanship & dishonesty.
I watched in disbelief as some covered for Omar by coming after me with lies & absurd claims that I don’t support 9/11 victims.
What a disgusting, dishonest tactic.
Why turn this into a political football?
Full NBC int: pic.twitter.com/sVXvzHDPnP
— Rep. Dan Crenshaw (@RepDanCrenshaw) April 12, 2019
Just so we are clear on basic notions of reality:
When someone calls out a public official for things they said, it is not endangering their life or inciting violence.
Claiming otherwise is just an attempt to silence your critics.
— Dan Crenshaw (@DanCrenshawTX) April 13, 2019
Meanwhile, some of the 2020 Democratic candidates are siding with Omar and even backing the idea that criticism is an incitement to violence:
The President is inciting violence against a sitting Congresswoman—and an entire group of Americans based on their religion. It's disgusting. It's shameful. And any elected leader who refuses to condemn it shares responsibility for it.
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) April 13, 2019
Ilhan Omar is a leader with strength and courage. She won't back down to Trump's racism and hate, and neither will we. The disgusting and dangerous attacks against her must end.
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) April 13, 2019
We are stronger than this president’s hatred and Islamophobia. Do not let him drive us apart or make us afraid.
— Beto O'Rourke (@BetoORourke) April 13, 2019