INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana Rep. Andre Carson said he was inspired by the bravery of Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., as she faces what he called “hatred and Islamophobia” from President Donald Trump’s Twitter attack.
The controversy began after remarks Omar made last month at an event hosted by the Council on American-Islamic Relations. She discussed some Americans’ fear that has been directed at Muslims.
During the speech, Omar said the council was created 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 council was actually created in 1994.
People attacking Omar have accused her of downplaying the role the attackers played on Sept. 11. Omar’s spokesperson said she was addressing civil rights.
On Friday, Trump tweeted a video of her remarks along with footage of the attacks. Omar and top Democrats in the House have condemned his tweet.
Carson, D-Ind., joined Democrats Monday in defending Omar against the president in a conference call.
“For the President of the United States to use the images of that day to smear Representative Omar as a means to score cheap political points, to shore up support amongst his base is just plain wrong,” Carson said. “Especially as a New Yorker — you think he’d know better. While this attack on her is particularly egregious, it isn’t surprising.”
Carson said he remembers being worried about his grandmother, who was serving in Congress at the time the towers fell.
“I think we can all agree that 9/11 was an incredibly tragic day for our country,” Carson said. “The memories are still raw for many Americans who experienced the attack firsthand or even lost loved ones that day.”
Omar and Carson are two of just three members of Congress who are of Muslim faith. When asked if Omar has explained what she meant by her comments, Carson said “she didn’t have to.”
“I looked at her speech,” Carson said. “I understand what it’s like … to have your words misrepresented and mischaracterized, taken out of context. Those of who have served who happen to be Muslims, get calls every day. Our motives are impugned, our patriotism is questioned. … I think text and context are very important.”