Carson: Trump Inspired Death Threats Against Rep. Ilhan Omar
WASHINGTON, D.C.--A video Tweeted out by Pres. Trump is not only unfair to Rep, Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), but may be responsible for inspiring death threats, said Rep. Andre Carson (D-Ind.), in a conference call with members of the Congressional Black Caucus, Monday.
"I think all of us are incredibly inspired by Ilhan's bravery," said Carson, who said he had spoken to Omar as she faced an "onslaught of hatred and Islamophobia".
Carson said in a conversation this weekend, Omar expressed concerns about her safety. He said he consulted with the Marion County Sheriff's Dept., because he felt the Sergeant at Arms of the U.S. House was being too slow to react.
"I have found the Sergeant at Arms to be too slow to respond to death threats as it relates to certain members of Congress," said Carson. He said he believes local police departments are more qualified, since they deal with those types of threats more often.
Carson said he believed the statement used in the Tweet by Trump, which was played repeatedly and interspersed with scenes from 9/11, was taken out of context.
"I understand what it's like and everyone on this call knows what it's like to have your words misrepresented, mischaracterized, taken out of context," said Carson. "Those of us who have served who happen to be Muslims (which includes Carson), have been called and get called terrorists every day. Our motives are impugned. Our patriotism is questioned."
Carson offered some criticism for Trump, not only for the Tweet, but for past actions, which he said includes "dog-whistling" to rouse anti-Muslim, anti-black and anti-immigrant sentiment among people in Trump's base.
"For the president of the United States to use images from that day to smear Rep. Omar as a means to score cheap political points and to shore up support amongst his base is just plain wrong," said Carson. He said the Tweet was a "new low", but that it falls in line with what he considers a pattern of behavior.
"While this tactic may work on a reality show, it's incredibly dangerous when you're the president of the United States."
Carson stopped short of calling the president a right-wing extremist or a racist, but said his actions have endangered Omar, and "all people he has targeted unfairly".
Carson said he believes the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, were tragic, but those events shouldn't be used to stir up emotions that could lead to violence.
Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), Chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, and Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.), Black Caucus chairwoman, both agreed with Carson's remarks. Thompson said while some people may not agree with Omar's sentiment that "some people did something", and it may be downplaying the attacks, nevertheless, she has a right to say what she wants under the Constitution.
PHOTO: Andre Carson on Twitter