Trump Says Ilhan Omar’s Apologies for Tweet on AIPAC Not Adequate

Hours after Minnesota congresswoman apologized for a tweet her party leaders denounced as anti-Semitic, the president offered his own commentary: ‘She should be ashamed of herself’

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US President Donald Trump makes his way to board Airforce One before departing Joint Base Andrews, Maryland on February 11, 2019.
US President Donald Trump makes his way to board Airforce One before departing Joint Base Andrews, Maryland on February 11, 2019.Credit: AFP

President Trump said Monday night that Rep. Ilhan Omar “should be ashamed of herself,” hours after the congresswoman apologized for a tweet implying that AIPAC was buying the support of members of Congress for Israel. 

Trump made the comment during a flight to Texas, where he was planning to campaign for a border wall. “I think it was a terrible statement and I don’t think her apology was adequate,” he said. When asked how she should address it, he replied: “She knows what to say.”

Ilhan Omar issued an apology on Monday evening following a strong backlash against her tweet. 

“Anti-Semitism is real and I am grateful for Jewish allies and colleagues who are educating me on the painful history of anti-Semitic tropes,” Omar wrote. “My intention is never to offend my constituents or Jewish Americans as a whole. We have to always be willing to step back and think through criticism, just as I expect people to hear me when others attack me for my identity. This is why I unequivocally apologize.”

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Omar, who captioned her apology “Listening and learning, but standing strong,” added: “At the same time, I reaffirm the problematic role of lobbyists in our politics, whether it be AIPAC, the NRA or the fossil fuel industry. It’s gone on too long and we must be willing to address it.”

The controversy erupted Sunday when the Minnesota congresswoman tweeted that support for Israel in the United States is “all about the Benjamins,” referring to Benjamin Franklin, whose image appears on $100 bills.

A growing list of Democratic lawmakers denounced Omar, with condemnations coming from members of Congress and other influential figures in the party.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi released a statement saying that “anti-Semitism must be called out, confronted and condemned whenever it is encountered, without exception.” The statement was co-signed by other members of the Democratic House leadership. “Legitimate criticism of Israel’s policies is protected by the values of free speech, but Congresswoman Omar’s use of anti-Semitic tropes is deeply offensive,” her statement added.