So long as President Trump has targeted on what he mentioned was the hazard lurking on the southwestern border, he has additionally talked concerning the supposed menace from one particular group already within the nation: Muslims.
Through the 2016 marketing campaign, he wouldn’t rule out making a registry of Muslims in the USA. He claimed to have seen “1000’s” of Muslims cheering on rooftops in New Jersey after Sept. 11, an announcement that was extensively debunked. After lethal assaults in Paris and California, Mr. Trump known as for a moratorium on Muslims touring to the USA.
“I believe Islam hates us,” Mr. Trump advised Anderson Cooper, the CNN host, in March 2016.
Now, with 19 months till the 2020 election, Mr. Trump is in search of to rally his base by sounding that theme as soon as once more. And this time, he has a selected goal: Consultant Ilhan Omar, Democrat of Minnesota and one of many first Muslim ladies elected to Congress.
Mr. Trump and his staff try to make Ms. Omar, considered one of a bunch of progressive ladies Democratic Home members who is comparatively unknown in nationwide politics, a family identify, to be seen as probably the most outstanding voice of the Democratic Social gathering, no matter her precise place. And they’re playing that there will probably be restricted draw back in doing so.
On Monday, Mr. Trump will go to Minnesota — a state that a number of the president’s aides converse of as a spot to broaden his electoral map — and can maintain an financial spherical desk. The occasion is outdoors Ms. Omar’s congressional district, however the president’s determination to look there’s a calculated selection.
His Minnesota look comes after his tweet of a video interspersed with Ms. Omar talking and the burning World Commerce Heart towers. Ms. Omar’s critics have claimed a portion of the remarks, wherein she highlighted Islamophobia confronted by Muslims after Sept. 11, have been dismissive of the terrorist assaults.
Mr. Trump is banking on portray all the Democratic Social gathering as excessive. And Ms. Omar has change into some extent of rivalry for some members of her personal get together, after remarks she made concerning the Israel foyer have been condemned as anti-Semitic by some long-serving Democrats, in addition to by Republicans and Mr. Trump.
However Mr. Trump’s electoral success in 2016 was based mostly partly on tradition wars and fears amongst an older, white voting base that the nation it knew was slipping away. Like his exhausting line on immigration, his performs on fears of Muslims — together with inaccurately conflating them with terrorists — proved polarizing among the many wider voters, however helped him hold a good grip on his most enthusiastic voters. Within the South Carolina Republican major in February 2016, as an example, exit polls confirmed that 75 % of voters favored his proposed Muslim ban.
Now, as he seems towards 2020, he’s betting that electoral play can ship for him once more. It’s a technique that dangers summoning darkish forces in American society, some extent Ms. Omar made in an announcement Sunday night.
“Because the president’s tweet Friday night, I’ve skilled a rise in direct threats on my life — many instantly referencing or replying to the president’s video,” Ms. Omar mentioned. “That is endangering lives. It has to cease.”
Speaker Nancy Pelosi mentioned on Sunday that she had requested a evaluation of Ms. Omar’s safety, whereas Trump aides insisted that the president meant no hurt.
“Definitely the president is wishing no sick will and positively not violence in the direction of anybody,” Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White Home press secretary, mentioned on Sunday’s broadcast of ABC Information’ “This Week.”
Privately, Mr. Trump’s advisers describe Ms. Omar as his ultimate foil. Her remarks concerning the energy of the pro-Israel foyer in the USA, mixed along with her function in a progressive contingent of freshman Home Democrats who’ve sparked intraparty battles, have been handled as a present by Republicans.
Trump aides and allies say they’re happy that a number of the Democratic hopefuls for the 2020 presidential nomination are defending her in opposition to the president’s assaults, claiming they assume it will likely be damaging for them within the common election.
Ms. Omar “is the right embodiment of the sharp distinction President Trump desires to color for 2020,” mentioned Sam Nunberg, a 2016 marketing campaign aide to Mr. Trump. He added that Mr. Trump is tethering Ms. Omar to extra seen Democrats, like her closest ally in Congress, Consultant Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, whom Republicans have sought to make a boogeyman.
“This distinction offers the president an opportunity to broaden his help nearer to 50 %,” Mr. Nunberg insisted.
However on Sunday, Democrats mentioned Mr. Trump was diving into a problem on which he has a shaky standing.
“He has no ethical authority to be speaking about 9/11 in any respect,” Consultant Jerrold Nadler, Democrat of New York, mentioned on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday. Mr. Nadler famous that Mr. Trump’s actual property firm utilized for and obtained grants after the assaults that have been supposed for small companies affected by the devastation.
Mr. Nadler mentioned he thought Ms. Omar’s feedback concerning the Sept. 11 assaults have been being taken out of context.
“I’ve had some issues with a few of her different remarks, however not with that one,” Mr. Nadler mentioned.
The controversy arose from Ms. Omar’s remarks at an occasion final month sponsored by the Council on American-Islamic Relations, an advocacy group, the place she targeted on assaults in opposition to Muslims after Sept. 11. She mentioned she had “lived with the discomfort of being a second-class citizen and, frankly, I’m bored with it, and each single Muslim on this nation needs to be bored with it.”
“CAIR was based after 9/11 as a result of they acknowledged that some folks did one thing and that every one of us have been beginning to lose entry to our civil liberties,” she mentioned. (The group was truly based in 1994.)
Critics of Ms. Omar contended that the phrases “some folks did one thing” have been dismissive of the terrorist assaults, however her defenders mentioned her phrases have been taken out of context.
The assault was not Mr. Trump’s first on Ms. Omar. Regardless of repeatedly being denounced for not making forceful condemnations of white nationalists who visitors in anti-Semitism, the president pounced when Ms. Omar unleashed a firestorm in February along with her feedback on Israel, rejecting her subsequent apology and calling for her to resign.
“Congressman Omar is horrible, what she mentioned,” Mr. Trump advised reporters.
Geoff Garin, a veteran Democratic strategist, mentioned the Democratic presidential candidates who had responded to Mr. Trump’s newest assaults on Ms. Omar have been conserving the give attention to his techniques. And he predicted that the usage of such graphic pictures from one of many nation’s darkest days would backfire for the president.
“Voters are turned off by means of 9/11 for political functions, and my guess is that average voters are going to see Trump’s use of that as each ugly and excessive,” Mr. Garin mentioned. “I believe his over-the-top exploitation of 9/11 goes to show extra voters off than he wins over by attacking the Democrats on this.”