| April 15, 2019 04:02 PM
An anomaly is something that deviates from the norm. A pattern is something that repeats. Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., has established quite the pattern of late. In what has seemed like a perpetual cycle of insensitive gaffes or purposeful attacks on Israel and the Jewish faith, Omar has remained a smug, unabashed, and unapologetic owner of her shocking tweets and public statements.
Omar saw the justified outrage at her most recent outrageous comments and doubled-down on even more controversy. In March, she was the featured speaker at a fundraising event hosted by the Council on American-Islamic Relations. The organization has seen its own share of controversy, with the U.S. government designating the advocacy group as an unindicted co-conspirator in 2007 for providing support to Hamas, a terror organization. Since then, there’s been a litany of similarly questionable associations and actions, sidelining the militant group from meaningful advocacy or credible lobbying.
But none of that deterred Omar from attending, and unintentionally making more headlines.
Her infamous quip from the podium, in describing the Sept. 11 terrorists as “some people who did something,” led to a slickly produced rebuttal video tweeted out from the president that interspersed Omar’s “some people” remarks in-between the horrific images of Sept. 11. President Trump’s puerile response aside, Omar’s dismissive remarks, either alarmingly obtuse or a devilishly coy play to her audience, were disgustingly insensitive and repugnant. Of course, her Democratic allies in Congress shamefully rushed to her defense. Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., reacted as expected, with the former citing a Holocaust poem (of all things) and the latter dismissing criticism as “racist.” The “I Stand With Ilhan Omar” hashtag began trending, and other prominent congressional Democrats (including Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, and Kamala Harris, and Reps. Adam Schiff, Jerry Nadler, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi) spoke out or tweeted in support of Omar.
Her craven political protectors aside, one would think that the plentiful opportunities afforded her would have made her grateful. But as Michael Goodwin points out in The New York Post, Omar’s dismissive description of the attacks “marks her as a heartless ingrate to the nation that rescued her family from civil war and possibly death at the hands of other Muslims.”
In the same speech, Omar expressed, in fairly strong and unambiguous words, condemnation of the shooter in the New Zealand mosque massacres. Yet, she describes Islamic extremism as a threat to be downplayed, minimized, and papered over.
Then again, Omar views her adopted country, one founded on Judeo-Christian values, with suspicion, tweeting derisively in 2017 that “our nation was founded by genocide.” That’s pretty rich considering that Salon highlighted a report by the British nonprofit Minority Rights Group in 2014 that identified the nine countries where genocide is most likely to occur, with Somalia (Omar’s birthplace) leading the list dominated by African and Middle Eastern countries.
As a deafening chorus of criticism began to descend upon her, Omar clumsily tweeted out a false equivalency of former President George W. Bush’s bullhorn speech atop the smoking pile of debris at Ground Zero shortly after Sept. 11.
Bush, in his role as consoler-in-chief, was surrounded by grim and weary first responders and said: “The people — and the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon!” Omar lamely tried to make the case that the president had spoken of the radical Islamists from al Qaeda with the same vagaries and nebulousness as she had. Yet at the time, days after the attack, Bush was awaiting final confirmation on perpetrators’ identities and affiliations from the FBI in New York.
I know this, because like the rest of the FBI agents assigned to the New York Office, I was chasing down every single available lead into the attacks, and we had thousands to confirm or clear.
Despite Pelosi’s allowance for benefit of the doubt, claiming Omar doesn’t quite understand the impact of her words, no honest arbiter of fact can truly believe that. She is an educated and learned woman. She owns bachelor’s degrees in political science and international studies. I suspect she knows what she’s doing. She also knows that her diminution of the threat from radical Islam is purposeful and intentional. She’s doing so some 17 years after the most horrific attack on U.S. soil. Almost 3,000 innocent souls were lost that day. The 19 attackers weren’t just “some people who did something,” they were hardened al Qaeda operatives whose perverted ideology didn’t perish with them. It was then, and still remains, an existential threat to the U.S. and the West.
Apologies emanating from D.C. these days are in short supply. The conventional wisdom holds that concessions are viewed as political weaknesses, to be exploited. As the current pitched battle in advance of 2020 roils between the two political parties, don’t hold your breath that a chastened Omar will suddenly find any humility or self-awareness. This country graciously provided her family sanctuary 27 years ago. But like so many on the progressive Left, Omar sneers at American exceptionalism and wields her minority status — as a female, as a refugee, as a Muslim, and as a person of color — as a protective coat of armor that renders her impervious to deserved criticism, rendering her tone-deaf utterances even more unconscionable.
Omar was born in Mogadishu in 1981. As a youngster, her family fled war-torn Somalia and settled in a refugee camp in Kenya. They arrived in the U.S. in 1992, sought asylum in 1995, and settled in Minneapolis shortly thereafter.
In no other country in the world is her story even possible. Time for her to recognize that.
James A. Gagliano (@JamesAGagliano) worked in the FBI for 25 years. He is a law enforcement analyst for CNN and an adjunct assistant professor in homeland security and criminal justice at St. John’s University.