Following the news that the president is stricken with coronavirus, elected officials on both sides are releasing statements wishing him well and urging unity — but one statement from a Minnesota congresswoman is raising eyebrows over its decidedly tougher tone.
On Friday afternoon, Rep. Ilhan Omar responded to President Donald Trump's COVID-19 diagnosis with the following:
"As someone who lost my own father to this virus and seen the pain it causes, I do not wish it on anyone," she begins, but goes on to say that over 200,000 people have died while the Trump Administration "actively ignored public health guidance and suppresses science."
She went on to attack him for having held a rally in Minnesota just a day before his positive diagnosis, saying he "exposed hundreds in a state that is already suffering from an uptick in cases."
Omar also pointed the finger at the Minnesota Republicans who flew with Trump and attended his rally, saying they have not quarantined and that they "came to the Capitol" on Friday, "risking the lives of additional elected leaders and staff."
Saying Trump and and the Minnesota GOP are "actively spreading a deadly virus," she called them a "risk to the public health of my constituents and our country."
Omar, often outspoken and given to the occasional gaffe herself (with some past comments having earned her accusations of antisemitism), has long been the subject of a great deal of online harassment and vitriol — and her Friday statement triggered countless angry comments on social media.
The previous day at his Duluth rally, President Trump repeated the as-yet unproven allegation of Omar's alleged involvement in ballot harvesting, which was published by Project Veritas. He also veered into racism with the line: "Frankly, harvesting is terrible but it's the least of things she has done... then she tells us how to run our country, can you believe it?"
At another Minnesota rally earlier in the month, Trump repeated other unproven claims about the congresswoman, including the allegation that she married her own brother.
In both Minnesota appearances, Trump also stoked fears that a Biden presidency would lead to a "historic flood" of refugees, turning Minnesota into "a refugee camp."
Omar is an American citizen and has been since 2000, having fled her native Somalia at the age of 8 and spending four years in a Kenyan refugee camp before being granted asylum in the U.S.
She represents Minnesota's 5th District, which covers the Minneapolis area.