Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN-05) was a guest on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert Wednesday night, just days after a video was released of her describing the 9/11 terrorist attacks as “some people did something.”
In response to the comments, the GOP renewed its calls for Omar to be removed from the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Colbert began the interview by noting that his show booked Omar “a long time ago to be on the show,” and then asked Omar to explain how she’s become a “lightning rod for people.”
“If you think about historically where our nation is at right now there are many members of our community that their are identities are a lightning rod—they’re being used as political football,” Omar said. “You’re talking about immigrants, you’re talking about refugees, women of color, people of color, minorities—and I just happen to embody all of those identities, and so it’s easy for this to kind of be self-explanatory.”
Colbert then brought up the numerous occasions on which Omar has been accused of anti-Semitism, saying she was criticized for saying “some things that some people, on the right specifically but also some Democrats, saw as possibly being anti-Semitic.”
“This whole process really has been one of growth for me, right? Because, you know, I was having a conversation with my predecessor Congressman Keith Ellison, who’s now Attorney General Keith Ellison. And we were talking about some things that are historically offensive to African Americans, and he’s going through a list, and I said, ‘I mean, I wouldn’t be offended by those things.’ And he said, ‘Well, you’re an African immigrant. None of those things hold history for you,’” Omar said.
“So often times when you are speaking you might not understand the historical context of some of the words that you might use, and the kind of pain that it might incite for people” Omar elaborated.
She then said that “this kind of double-standard is quite offensive” and is “very much embedded in a lot of our culture these days.”
“You will have people come after minorities for things that they say, they might insinuate it. But no one goes after people like the folks on Fox & Friends that actually say those words. It’s not about insinuation, right? They actually said that I might not be an American, my loyalties might not be to this country. But I get called out, they don’t” she continued.
Omar’s extended interview with Colbert can be viewed here.
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Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of Battleground State News, The Ohio Star, and The Minnesota Sun. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Ilhan Omar” by The Late Night Show with Stephen Colbert.