Lawmaker Says He Stands By Criticism Of Ilhan Omar's 9/11 Comments
Texas Republican Rep. Dan Crenshaw said he has no regrets for the comments he made about a video of his fellow freshman member of Congress Rep..
In a wide-ranging interview with CBSN's Caitlin Huey-Burns, Crenshaw said there is "no indication" he took Omar's comments from an appearance at a Council on American–Islamic Relations (CAIR) banquet out of context.
"The broader point that she was making is perfectly fine. The broader point that she was making is that the organization CAIR defends civil liberties and that there was concern about civil liberties post-9/11," he said. "That doesn't change the fact that you refer to 9/11 in a dismissive way, both in tone and in gesture, and in words, as some people did something."
In her speech earlier this year, Omar, a progressive Democrat born in Somalia and one of the two first Muslim women to serve in Congress, said CAIR was formed to protect the civil rights of Muslim Americans in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
"Far too long we have lived with the discomfort of being a second-class citizen, and frankly, I'm tired of it, and every single Muslim in this country should be tired of it," Omar, who represents Minneapolis, said at the event. "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."
The part of the quote "some people did something" resurfaced last month, particularly among conservatives and right-wing media outlets. Crenshaw tweeted a 19-second clip of her comments and called them "unbelievable," while President Trump shared showing some of Omar's remarks, as well as the Pentagon and the World Trade Center burning after airliners crashed into the buildings.
"All that I said is that it's unbelievable that someone would refer to it that way," Crenshaw added. "And I stand by that wholeheartedly."
Asked about the deaths threats Omar's office reported to authorities after her comments stirred controversy, the Texas Republican said there should always be concerns about threats of violence. "I get death threats. It's unfortunately part of the nature of this job," he added.
Although Crenshaw said anyone who threatens a member of Congress is a "horrible human being," he noted that he believed the controversy Omar found herself embroiled in was fueled by her own words.
"It is not everybody else's words that cause these things. It is her words," he said. "And you can't lay that blame anybody else."