MINNEAPOLIS, MN - OCTOBER 10: U.S. President Donald Trump speaks on stage during a campaign rally at the Target Center on October 10, 2019 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images).
Trump stepped up his demonization of Minnesota's Somali community in front of a braying crowd of MAGA-hat wearing supporters.
On Thursday, US President Donald Trump held a campaign rally in Minneapolis, Minnesota and—in typical white-nationalist fashion—used a significant portion of his speech to disparage the local Somali community, and once again take shots at the state's Somali-born Representative Ilhan Omar.
"As you know for many years leaders in Washington brought large numbers of refugees to your state from Somalia without considering the impact on schools and communities and taxpayers," said Trump, echoing the countless anti-immigrant statements he's made in the past. "You should be able to decide what is best for your own cities and for your own neighborhoods and that's what you have the right to do right now, and believe me, no other president would be doing that," he added as his supporters cheered him on.
He took direct cracks at Omar—going as far as to display images of the Democratic congresswoman on the venue's jumbo screens, while he referred to her as an "America-hating socialist" and "disgrace." Going further to add: "How do you have such a person representing you in Minnesota. I am very angry at you people right now. She is a disgrace to our country. She is one of the big reasons that I am going to win and the Republican party is going to win Minnesota in 13 months."
He assured attendees that he would further tighten immigration policies and "give local communities a greater say in refugee policy and put in place enhanced vetting and responsible immigration controls."
Omar—who has been subject to verbal abuse from the president both in speeches and on Twitter on several occasions since assuming her post—responded to Trump's remarks last night writing, "Minnesota stands for peace, equity and justice—everything you're against. While you spew hate, we will keep fighting for the America we deserve."
Minnesota stands for peace, equity, and justice -- everything you are against. While you spew hate, we will keep f… https://t.co/cri1qE0SEJ— Ilhan Omar (@Ilhan Omar) 1570560141.0
Several commentators have blasted Trump for his hate-fueled remarks and have spoken out in defense of Omar and Minnesota's Somali community, which is the largest in the country.
Can you imagine being Somali-American and watching this? This is the kind of hate rally seen in authoritarian and f… https://t.co/yIOtPfkjEs— Elad Nehorai (@Elad Nehorai) 1570767121.0
This type of rhetoric has harmful, real-life implications for the Somali community. As Huffington Post reporter, Ryan J. Reilly pointed out, three Trump supporters were convicted last year for planning a terrorist attack against Somali refugees in Kansas.
Mukhtar M. Ibrahim, editor of Sahan Journal which covers immigrant and refugee issues in Minnesota, shared a passage from the book Border Wars: Inside Trump's assault on Immigration, which reveals what appears to be a longstanding hate from Trump towards Somali refugees in particular.
Trump is in town today. Here’s what he said about Somalis in Minnesota. From the book “Border Wars: Inside Trump’s… https://t.co/nHB5o4NluL— Mukhtar M. Ibrahim (@Mukhtar M. Ibrahim) 1570715518.0
Earlier this year, several right-wing officials, including Trump, accused Omar of anti-semitism for tweeting criticism of pro-Israel lobbyists and saying that American support for Israel was primarily about economic gain. This fueled, what amounted to, a right-wing led smear campaign against her, with several members of the Republican party calling on the congresswoman to resign from her post.
"American public politics revolves heavily (but not exclusively) around an idea of citizenship that excludes and criminalizes Black people," wrote OkayAfrica Contributor Zoe Samudzi in an op-ed following the incident. "It invites people to participate in our public disciplining and Omar's Somali, Black Muslim, and refugee identities make her a beautiful target for bipartisan political point-scoring."