Ilhan Omar quotes Bush in defense of 9/11 comments

Rep. accused of invoking anti-Semitic tropes

By Sunlen Serfaty, CNN
Alex Wong/Getty Images

U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar

(CNN) - Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar, one of the first two Muslim women in Congress, continued Friday defending her controversial comments on the September 11, 2001 terror attacks, that has set off a wave of criticism.

Omar, in a tweet on Friday morning, quoted former President George W. Bush's own words in the wake of the attack as a way of comparing her own words.

"'The people — and the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon!'" Omar said quoting Bush's past words in 2001, asking, "Was Bush downplaying the terrorist attack? What if he was a Muslim."

In a speech last month at the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Omar said, "CAIR was founded after 9/11 because they recognized that some people did something and that all of us were starting to lose access to our civil liberties."

The Republican National Committee picked up the quote saying "Ilhan Omar downplays terrorism AGAIN."

On Thursday, The New York Post published a provocative cover highlighting Omar's comments — an image of the Twin Towers engulfed in flames and the headline "Here's your something."

Many of Omar's Democratic friends and colleagues in Congress have come to her defense.

Democratic Reps. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York all focusing their pushback on blasting the Post cover, calling it "shameful" and "horrible."

"We are getting to the level where this is an incitement of violence against progressive women of color and if they can't figure out how to get it back to policy we need to call it out for what it is because this is not normal and this is not a normal level of political debate or rhetoric," Ocasio-Cortez told reporters Thursday afternoon at the House Democratic retreats in Leesburg, Virginia, calling it a "politically motivated" attack.

Omar is one of the most controversial new members of Congress. In the three months since being sworn in she has been at the center of numerous controversies, including invoking anti-Semitic tropes and stereotypes in her comments criticizing US support for Israel.

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