An Indiana congressman is coming under fire for comments about Minnesota's Rep. Ilhan Omar and her experience with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
At a Wednesday press conference, Omar criticized President Donald Trump’s actions in Iran and said talks of conflicts in the country trigger her PTSD.
“I feel ill a little bit because of everything that is taking place and every time I hear about conversations about war, I feel myself stricken with PTSD,” Omar said.
Omar, who was born in Somalia, fled from the country’s civil war at age eight before spending four years in a Kenyan refugee camp. She eventually settled in Minneapolis.
But Rep. Jim Banks (R-Indiana) tweeted Wednesday that Omar’s comments were a “disgrace” to veterans suffering from PTSD. Others also chimed in to criticize Omar’s comments, including conservative pundit Laura Ingraham.
In response, Rep. Omar said: "Hi Jim, I survived war as a child and deal with post-traumatic stress disorder—much like many who have served or lived through war.
"It’s shameful that you as a member of Congress would erase the PTSD of survivors."
Banks’s comments have been widely shared on right-wing media sites including Fox News and the Washington Examiner, and also drew comment from Fox News host Laura Ingraham.
But they drew swift criticism from multiple officials and a progressive veterans’ group, who jumped to Omar's defense.
Omar also doubled down on her remarks, using her experience to again oppose a war with Iran.
"I've lived in a war zone and I've seen what conflict does to families and communities," Omar later tweeted.
According to the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation, PTSD can affect anyone, not just those who have experienced a dangerous event. Those suffering with PTSD can include veterans and survivors of sexual assault, disasters and other traumatic events such as childbirth.