Senator Rand Paul Calls Rep. Ilhan Omar 'Ungrateful'

Republican Senator Rand Paul offered to buy Minnesota Representative Ilhan Omar a ticket to Somalia so she can learn to have more gratitude for living in America.

During an interview with the conservative-leaning outlet Breitbart News on July 26, the Kentucky senator said Omar is not like the immigrants from Somalia he has met, saying that they appreciate the US.

“She says we’re a terrible country? I think that’s about as ungrateful as you can get,” Paul said. “I’m willing to contribute to buy her a ticket to go visit Somalia.”

Omar has yet to respond to Paul’s comments, but she retweeted others’ responses to the video, including comedian Tom Arnold, who wrote: “Imagine being Rand Paul’s next door neighbor and having to deal with @RandPaul lying cowardly circular whiney bullcrap about lawn clippings. No wonder he ripped his toupee off.”

This is not the first time Paul has defended Trump for his racist remarks. When Trump referred to African nations as “s---hole countries,” Paul said it was “unfair” to label him a racist, NBC News previously reported.

Omar, who was born in Somalia and moved to the US at age 12, is one of the freshman lawmakers who have been subjected to racist and hateful comments. President Donald Trump has targeted Omar, New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Massachusetts Representative Ayanna Pressley, and Michigan Representative Rashida Tlaib, all of whom are collectively known as the Squad.

On July 14, Trump tweeted that the four congresswomen should “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime-infested places from which they came.” All the women were born in the US, with the exception of Omar who is a naturalized citizen. “So interesting to see ‘Progressive’ Democrat Congresswomen, who originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe, the worst, most corrupt and inept anywhere in the world (if they even have a functioning government at all) now loudly and viciously telling the people of the United States, the greatest and most powerful Nation on earth, how our government is to be run,” Trump tweeted. “Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came. Then come back and show us how it is done,” Trump continued.

He continued his attacks on the congresswomen during a rally in North Carolina on July 17. During the rally, Trump singled out Omar and accused her of “having a history of launching vicious anti-Semitic” remarks. His speech about the Minnesota Representative incited the crowd to chant, “Send her back!”

“Omar blamed the United States for the crisis in Venezuela. I mean, think of that one. And she looks down with contempt on the hard-working Americans saying that ignorance is pervasive in many parts of this country,” Trump said, according to ABC News. “And, obviously and importantly, Omar has a history of launching vicious anti-Semitic screeds. “When she talked about the evil Israel and it’s ‘all about the Benjamins’ — not a good thing to say. So that’s Omar, that’s Omar,” Trump continued. The president also slammed Tlaib for using the “F word” when discussing his presidency and criticized Pressley for thinking “people with the same skin color all need to think the same,” the news station reported. In response to his comments at the rally, Omar tweeted a Maya Angelou poem.

“You may shoot me with your words, You may cut me with your eyes, You may kill me with your hatefulness, But still, like air, I’ll rise — Maya Angelou,” Omar wrote.

A day before the rally, the House of Representatives passed a resolution condemning the president’s racist comments against the four Democratic lawmakers, NPR previously reported. “Every single member of this institution, Democratic and Republican, should join us in condemning the president’s racist tweets,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said at the time. “To do anything less would be a shocking rejection of our values and a shameful abdication of our oath of office to protect the American people.”

In a July 25 op-ed published in The New York Times, Omar continued to speak out against the president, stating that Trump is using his position to start racist attacks across the nation. “Throughout history, demagogues have used state power to target minority communities and political enemies, often culminating in state violence,” Omar wrote. “Today, we face that threat in our own country, where the president of the United States is using the influence of our highest office to mount racist attacks on communities across the land.”

About the Author

Maria Perez is a breaking news writer for The North Star. She has an M.A. in Urban Reporting from the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. She has been published in the various venues, including Newsweek, Juvenile Justice Information Exchange, City Limits, and local newspapers like The Wave and The Home Reporter.