CNN Defends Omar for Downplaying 9/11 Against Trump Comments ‘Putting Her in Danger’

Hours before the Notre Dame Cathedral fire with cable news channels moving into rolling coverage from Paris, Monday morning’s New Day featured numerous analysts, commentators, hosts, and journalists defending Minnesota Democratic Representative Ilhan Omar’s comments downplaying the September 11, 2001 attacks and blasting the President for “taking [her] words out of context” and causing her to grapple with death threats.

Going first to the 6:00 a.m. Eastern hour, fill-in co-host Poppy Harlow remarked to The Washington Post’s Toluse Olorunnipa that Trump (and thus her critics too) have “tak[en] Ilhan Omar’s words out of context here in the address she gave to CAIR and now the congresswoman says there have been increased threats to her safety — death threats.”

 

 

Olorunnipa must have consulted a random word generator for liberal journalists because he responded by dismissing Trump’s criticism of Omar as an attempt “to change the narrative” (read: distract from) on “his tax returns or other investigations or the Mueller report” in addition to Trump “seiz[ing] on every opportunity he gets to shine the spotlight on progressive members of Congress and to paint them as the other.”

“This is, in the eyes of several Democrats, an incitement to violence. The President doesn't seem to mind people are making death threats based on this video....So, this is clearly a political move by the President. But it seems to be having ramifications for the congresswoman that she's facing death threats all over,” he added.

The next hour featured more nonsense with Harlow again reiterating the left’s talking points that Omar was merely being “tak[en]...certainly out of context” and lobbied for the President to delete video criticizing her. 

Political analyst David Gregory and legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin replied by suggesting it was unfair of Trump to paint Democrats with such a broad brush (cue the irony alarm bells) and even racist to call her out (click “expand”):

GREGORY: Yeah, it's an extraordinary situation that she's facing this danger because of something the President has directly done, which is completely wrong. Look, Congresswoman Omar deserves to be called out as a public official for things that she says, whether it is anti-Semitic comments she made or I think ill advised comments about 9/11. I think that, even if the fuller context, her comments about 9/11 weren't very reverential of the loss that the country suffered. That said, this is beyond the pale and that she should be targeted with death threats because of something the President said is completely wrong. And it fits in, you know, the President is using her as a foil as he tries to use the other high profile newer representatives who are Democrats in Congress to somehow tar the entire Democratic party. That is out of context and just beyond the pale in terms of political attack 

TOOBIN: What do all the people that he's vilifying have in common? They are all people of color. You know, it is, you know, AOC, Omar. I mean, this is, you know, whether it is the basketball players or the football players, he’s always after people of color and that is not a coincidence. 

Harlow also had 2020 presidential candidate and Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) on that hour and she fretted about how Trump’s responsible for a “congresswoman from my home state of Minnesota” facing death threats. 

Booker decried those disagreeing with Omar and most notably the President as being behind “a reprehensible” and “disgusting” “attack on her trying to incite anti-Islamic feelings, trying to divide Americans” instead of uniting them as the country did after 9/11.

How the country would rally behind demeaning the memory of nearly 3,000 was unclear. But Harlow told Booker after two lengthy answers that “you’re right, Senator.”

Mediaite first noted, Omar’s name came up when co-host Alisyn Camerota sparred with Trump 2020 official Marc Lotter, wondering at one point to Lotter if Trump “know[s] that he's putting her in danger?”

In the final hour of the atrociously poor-rated show, deranged, fake Republican Ana Navarro tried to have it both ways by gently scolding Omar then ripping into Trump, which was par for the course for Navarro, who couldn’t even enjoy a Christmas vacation skiing in Colorado without Trump entering into her mind.

To see the relevant transcript from CNN’s New Day on April 15, click “expand.”

CNN’s New Day
April 15, 2019
6:16 a.m. Eastern

POPPY HARLOW: Let's talk about this and the development with what the President tweeted on Friday, that video taking Ilhan Omar’s words out of context here in the address she gave to CAIR and now the congresswoman says there have been increased threats to her safety — death threats for you. You’ve got Nancy Pelosi saying she’s been talking to the sergeant-in-arms about protecting her. What is the strategy here from Team Trump on this? 

TOLUSE OLORUNNIPA: This is an opportunity for the president to change the narrative and not have people talking about his tax returns or other investigations or the Mueller report. He seizes on every opportunity he gets to shine the spotlight on progressive members of congress and to paint them as the other and he sees Congressman — Congresswoman Omar as a chief opportunity for that. He's singled her out on several occasions. This is, in the eyes of several Democrats, an incitement to violence. The president doesn't seem to mind people are making death threats based on this video. He sees it as a political winner for him because he can sort stand next to the flag and say, we'll never forget 9/11 and look at these Democrats who are, you know, downplaying the tremendous loss that happened that day. So, this is clearly a political move by the President. But it seems to be having ramifications for the congresswoman that she's facing death threats all over. 

HARLOW: Yeah, right, which is horrific. Before you go, the divide within the Democratic Party over Ilhan Omar and her choice of words. Going back to her words about — repeated words about Israel and then this. One thing that struck me in Nancy Pelosi's statement, condemning the President for putting out this video she also said this. Let me read it: “The memory of 9/11 is sacred ground, and any discussion must be done with reverence. The President shouldn't use the painful images of 9/11 for a political attack.” The part that any part of it must be done with reverence, did you read that at all as a message to Congresswoman Omar? 

OLORUNNIPA: Ah, definitely. Speaker Nancy Pelosi realizes a large number of people that helped her win the speakership come from moderate districts, come from districts where the type of rhetoric President Trump puts out is relevant to them and they — in many cases, they voted for president trump and eventually voted for a Democrat for the seat. So, those are moderate districts and Nancy Pelosi is trying to figure out a way not only to placate the progressive wing of the base, but also make sure that the moderate members do not feel like they are put out to sea by her rushing to defend only progressive members. So, I did see in that statement an opportunity for her to try to sort of strike that balance between no only condemning the President which is broadly popular across the party, but also making sure she's not rushing to defend what some see as the most extreme wing of the base. 

(....)

7:13 p.m. Eastern

HARLOW: David Gregory, switching gears here, a sitting member of Congress, freshman Democrat Ilhan Omar is now facing death threats — numerous death threats and she says, “many directly referencing or replying to the president's video.” Of course, this is what he tweeted on Friday with images of 9/11 and the Twin Towers being struck and words from a speech she gave to AIPAC [sic] about a month ago using words to describe the terrorists as “some people,” taking them certainly out of context and out of the broader context of what she was saying. Where does this — where does this go from here? I mean, the President hasn't taken it down 

DAVID GREGORY: Yeah, it's an extraordinary situation that she's facing this danger because of something the President has directly done, which is completely wrong. Look, Congresswoman Omar deserves to be called out as a public official for things that she says, whether it is anti-Semitic comments she made or I think ill advised comments about 9/11. I think that, even if the fuller context, her comments about 9/11 weren't very reverential of the loss that the country suffered. That said, this is beyond the pale and that she should be targeted with death threats because of something the President said is completely wrong. And it fits in, you know, the President is using her as a foil as he tries to use the other high profile newer representatives who are Democrats in Congress to somehow tar the entire Democratic party. That is out of context and just beyond the pale in terms of political attack 

JEFFREY TOOBIN: What do all the people that he's vilifying have in common? They are all people of color. You know, it is, you know, AOC, Omar. I mean, this is, you know, whether it is the basketball players or the football players, he’s always after people of color and that is not a coincidence. 

(....)

7:26:22 a.m.
2 minutes and 59 seconds

HARLOW: Congresswoman from my home state of Minnesota, Representative Ilhan Omar, has had an increase in death threats. Some of them she just said over the weekend directly because of the video that the President posted on Twitter on Friday showing the 9/11 attacks splicing that with some words she used describing the terrorists as some people in the speech to CAIR about a month ago. What's your response to — to what happened to the congresswoman and her words overall? Because of course there's been controversy and the words she's chosen and the statements she's chosen to make statements about Israel.

SENATOR CORY BOOKER (D-NJ): Let’s put this in context. Nothing she said is deserving of what’s happening to her and what the President is doing to her. This is a reprehensible attack on her trying to incite anti-Islamic feelings, trying to divide Americans and we all should rally to a fellow American congresswoman's defense right now against a President that seems to have this — this disgusting, in my opinion, continue desire for an attack. Especially African-Americans whether they are football players or the congressperson. To me, this is exactly what the presidents shouldn't be doing at a time we need to unite Americans. We need to inspire people to come together. This is just another example of the kind of leadership that weakens the country. Americans — American presidents shouldn't demean people. They should elevate people. They should inspire people and bring our country together at a time when we have worsening divisions 

HARLOW: Just quickly, before we move onto reparations, I would like you to weigh in that, but do you take issues with her word choices about Israel? 

BOOKER: I’ve spoken strongly about comments in that past I find unacceptable. I'm happy she's come out and apologized for those comments. Let's just talk about exactly what's happening now. She gave a speech where the President has pounced on words in a way that is outrageously unacceptable that's not only inspiring death threats against her but is deepening the sort of worse types of just — the worse streams in our country of hatred and bigotry and this is unacceptable what he's doing, especially for those of us — you live in Brooklyn, I live in New Jersey. We know people that were in the towers. 

HARLOW: Yes, we do. 

BOOKER: It was one of the more painful, horrific experiences of my lifetime — of our lifetime in the last 50 years in our country. It was an attack on the soil to use this in such an awful, political way. That was more of the more uniting moments, those — those months after that when this country came together to defend our country. This is him using it to divide people. It’s unacceptable.

HARLOW: I’ll never forget the feeling. I had moved to New York just five days before. I was a freshman in college and the feeling of the great city coming together for months after. You’re right, Senator.

BOOKER: Months after — applauding firefighters. I mean, that spirit is what he should be tapping into as opposed to a god awful way to divide our nation this nation. It's disgusting.

(....)

7:40 p.m. Eastern

ALISYN CAMEROTA: I want to move on to the issue with Congresswoman Ilhan Omar and President Trump's tweet that Nancy Pelosi and the congresswoman, herself, say has upped the amount of death threats that the congresswoman is getting. They've seen a spike in the threats against her and so the Capitol Police, et cetera, are having to expend extra resources to protect her. Does the President know that he's putting her in danger?

MARC LOTTER: Well, I don't think it's the President who is putting her in danger. I think it's her ill-thought-out words that she used to describe the greatest terror attack on the history of United States soil — that which killed nearly 3,000 Americans. The fact that those are her words. That's what's putting — making the threats, but make no mistake. No congressperson, no American should be threatened and no one is inciting violence. I think what they're doing is showing outrage toward words that should have been better thought out.

CAMEROTA: Well, yeah. I mean, if she's saying that it's since the President's tweet that what the — Nancy Pelosi and the congresswoman — and obviously, the records could show this — that the amount of death threats and the calls coming in have spiked since the president's tweet and so, let's just give them the benefit of the doubt and say that that's true. Is the President considering taking down that tweet?

LOTTER: Well, I'm not aware of the President planning to take down that tweet, but I think it's also important that the American people realize that these are the words that are being spoken by leaders of the Democrat Party. In many cases, you've got Democratic leaders and leading presidential candidates coming out and defending those words.

CAMEROTA: Yeah.

LOTTER: And so many people are offended by that —

CAMEROTA: Yeah.

LOTTER: —  because — I mean, this was an attack that killed nearly 3,000 people — 

CAMEROTA: Yeah.

LOTTER: — and to describe it as “somebody who did something” is just disrespectful.

CAMEROTA: Oh, sure and you've heard people say that they thought that it was anything from inartful to offensive to hurtful, but I'm just talking about in terms of the threats themselves. Since you're saying that nobody should have their lives threatened regardless of what words they choose, should the President take down that tweet?

LOTTER: I'm not going to tell the President what he should or should not do with his — with his Twitter account, but I can tell you that I think it's absolutely appropriate when you have an elected official — someone who is standing as a member of Congress saying things, that you — that you call out those things when they are inappropriate or offensive. We've seen the Democratic Party struggle with Representative Omar before on her — on her anti-Semitic tropes and now with these comments. It's something the Democrats have failed to hold her accountable for.

CAMEROTA: Well —

LOTTER: And while no one should — no member of Congress should be threatened — 

CAMEROTA: Yeah.

LOTTER: — and no one is inciting that or encouraging it, but it is the appropriate action for elected officials to stand up, call out those comments — 

CAMEROTA: Sure. I mean —

LOTTER: — and asked that they be taken down.

CAMEROTA: — understood and you do hear various pundits and various Democrats saying that, but in terms of you saying that nobody should incite violence, let's say the President didn't mean to incite violence — and we'll obviously give him that benefit of the doubt — but his tweet is doing so. Would you like to see him take that down?

LOTTER: I'm not going to — I'm not going to get ahead of what the President may or may not do, but we have seen many people rightly express their outrage. You've had the cover of the New York Post the other day —

CAMEROTA: Yeah.

LOTTER: — before that tweet came out.

CAMEROTA: Yes.

LOTTER: Many people are expressing that outrage.

CAMEROTA: Yes.

LOTTER: And while I would no longer — I wouldn't hold the New York Post accountable for how a headline might be viewed, I'm not going to hold the President's Twitter account to that either. Ultimately, what Congresswoman Omar needs to do is retract those statements and call the Islamic radical terrorists who did these — this terrible deed out for what they did.

(....)

8:11 p.m. Eastern

JOHN AVLON: Ana, I want your take on the controversy between President Trump and Representative Ilhan Omar. Both the President politicizing 9/11 and Representative Omar’s own comments which Democrats are rushing to defend right now.

ANA NAVARRO: The entire thing is horrible. It is horrible that 9/11, such suffering, such death, such distress for so many family and all America, frankly, should be used and exploited in order to advance a political agenda. Let's talk about first Congressman Omar. She's a congresswoman. She's no longer a community activist and she's one of the first Muslim women in Congress. There's going to be added scrutiny on her because of that. There's also added notoriety. There's pros and advantages to being the first and I think she has got to understand that responsibility. She's got to know that there is a huge magnifying glass over her and she has got to be very careful about what she says and how she speaks because it's going to be picked over. That's on her. That's on her to accept that responsibility. But as far as Trump, I just can’t even fathom his level of hypocrisy and inappropriateness. Let’s remember Donald Trump’s own history with 9/11. This is a guy who lied about seeing Muslims celebrating in the streets of New Jersey right after 9/11. This is a guy who lied about being on site cleaning up rubble. This is a guy who applied for small business aid funds in New York after 9/11. Time and time again he has exploited the 9/11 issue for his personal gain, and it is wrong. It is wrong. 9/11 is a date of reverence. It should be a sacred date for all Americans. It’s a date of suffering and a date to reflect and a date to unify not to divide Americans. So, this — this entire thing needs to stop

HARLOW: Jonathan, I'm interested in what you think we see going forward from the Democratic Party. So many of the biggest names in the party have run to her defense on this, ones that were not -- were very quick to condemn her words on Israel. 

JONATHAN MARTIN: Yeah, I’m not terribly surprised. I think once President Trump is involved, that leads to a natural rallying effect, especially when he lobs such an incendiary attack. It's a little fascinating to watch the various Democrats and how fast they moved and what exactly they said because obviously Congressman Omar has made some comments herself about Jewish-Americans that are controversial. I think there was a little bit of hesitation among some people in the party. Once the President has done what he has done, that is going to sort of bring Democrats to her side. I was in Minneapolis last week, and I can tell you talking to Democrats there, there was a sense that she could have a real primary challenge next year but that every time the President goes after her, that lessens the chance she could use in the primaries because there will be less of an opening for Democrats to oppose her because the President is against her. 

HARLOW: That's interesting. 

GREGORY: What we see here on both sides of this is an opportunity to make an important point that gets totally lost because of how it's communicated. Congresswoman Omar, I think, as making a very important point about what it was like to be a Muslim in America after 9/11. How many Muslims were targeted including by politicians like Donald Trump who continue to be targeted by politicians including Donald Trump and she also, in making that point, the way that she said it, didn't show the reverence for 9/11 that I think is be fitting anyone in America, certainly a member of Congress and then in — she deserves to be called out for that. But in the way that President Trump did it, it completely obliterates that point of calling her out and makes her a target of violence and con conflates what she said. That's what we use in this political dialogue, an ability to call somebody out, to make a legitimate point by complete overstatement. 

AVLON: It’s an important point, the feedback loop that we’re in

NBDaily 9/11 Conservatives & Republicans Liberals & Democrats CNN New Day Poppy Harlow David Gregory Jeffrey Toobin Alisyn Camerota Ilhan Omar Donald Trump Ana Navarro
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