Ben Ray Lujan, top House Democrat, condemns Ilhan Omar’s 9/11 comments as ‘extremely hurtful’
Assistant House Speaker Rep. Ben Ray Lujn said Thursday that freshman Rep. Ilhan Omar’s comments about the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks were “extremely hurtful.”
Ms. Omar came under fire this week after a video surfaced of her speech to the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) in which she appeared to trivialize the al Qaeda-led attacks that left 3,000 people dead.
“CAIR was founded after 9/11, because they recognized that some people did something and that all of us were starting to lose access to our civil liberties,” Ms. Omar, a freshman Minnesota Democrat and Muslim-American who has faced a number of allegations of anti-Semitism since her election, told the crowd in March.
The remark sparked widespread backlash, prompting the New York Post on Thursday to publish a graphic photo of the World Trade Center attack with the front page headline: “Here’s your something.”
The backlash against Ms. Omar has also sparked criticism on the left, specifically by fellow freshmen Reps. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, who accused conservatives and the Post of taking Ms. Omar’s comment out of context.
Ms. Omar has not apologized for her description of 9/11 and says the criticism amounts to “dangerous incitement” that leads to “death threats.”
One Democrat who agrees Ms. Omar’s comments were offensive is Mr. Lujn, the fourth-ranking House Democrat who recently announced his candidacy for Sen. Tom Udall’s seat in New Mexico.
“Those statements were not only hurtful to me but extremely hurtful to everyone that was personally impacted by those terrorist attacks,” Mr. Lujn told MSNBC’s Kasie Hunt, the Washington Free Beacon reported. “No one should refer to what happened on 9/11, with terrorist attacks that killed thousands of Americans, as ‘something by some people.’ And that’s what was wrong with those statements.”
Mr. Lujn added that he thinks the threats against Ms. Omar as a result of her statements are “wrong” as well.
“No one should be extending death threats to no one,” he said.