Rep. Ilhan Omar, the not ready for prime time Democrat from Minnesota just can’t seem to get out of her own way these days.
Already mired in controversy over an anti-Semitic remark about dual loyalty that resulted in a (watered down) rebuke from the Democrat-run House, the freshman lawmaker finds herself knee-deep in another spat over her criticism of still widely popular former President Barack Obama.
In an interview with Politico, Omar, one of the first two Muslim women to be elected to Congress in November, said Obama was a “pretty face” who was able to “get away with murder.”
When faced with the expected backlash over her remarks, Omar took to Twitter to say she’s an Obama fan and claim the reporter distorted her words.
The problem is that reporters push back when attacked — even against a Democrat.
Omar included a caption of what Politico reported and said she taped the interview, as if that would back up her claim, including a link to the recording.
“Exhibit A of how reporters distort words. I’m an Obama fan! I was saying how Trump is different from Obama, and why we should focus on policy not politics. This is why I always tape my interviews,” she tweeted.
In the interview, Omar said that while it’s right to criticize President Trump and his policies, she said the “ways that our Democratic leaders have conducted themselves within the system is not one that we are all proud of.”
“You know I will talk about the family separation or caging of kids and people will point out that this was Trump — I mean this was Obama,” Omar said, according to the audio she provided. “I mean I’ll say something about the droning of countries around the world and people will say that was Obama. And all of that is very true.”
“We can’t be only upset with Trump because he’s not a politician who sells us his policies in the most perfect way,” she continued. “His policies are bad, but many of the people who came before him also had really bad policies. They just were more polished than he was, and that’s not what we should be looking for anymore. We don’t want anybody to get away with murder because they are polished, we want to recognize the actual policies that are behind the pretty face and the smile so that we can understand the kind of negative impact, or positive impact they will have on us for generations to come.”
All of which is consistent with what Politico ran with — talk about a self own.
Enter Tim Alberta, the reporter who conducted the interview and didn’t appreciate the “Twitter ambush.”
Taking to Twitter, Alberta said Omar was trying to use him as a “straw man” to avoid the backlash over her criticism, and that the audio she provided supported what he wrote.
“Exhibit A of how politicians use the media as a straw man to avoid owning what they said,” he tweeted. “Your tape…supports what I wrote 100%. So does my longer tape. It’s beyond dispute. Next time, a phone call from your office before the Twitter ambush would be appreciated.”
Exhibit A of how politicians use the media as a straw man to avoid owning what they said.
Your tape…supports what I wrote 100%. So does my longer tape. It's beyond dispute.
Next time, a phone call from your office before the Twitter ambush would be appreciated. https://t.co/eb2grgn5Cd
— Tim Alberta (@TimAlberta) March 8, 2019
Other reporters weighed in to pretty much agree with Alberta’s assessment:
— Nate Silver (@NateSilver538) March 8, 2019
i mean, it sounds like politico presented the quote perfectly in context — and it was an great quote so i'm not sure what the issue is https://t.co/ygAty1eCYc
— Ashley Feinberg (@ashleyfeinberg) March 8, 2019
not sure where this is coming from. it seems politico didn’t get anything wrong here. they characterized and contextualized ilhan omar’s words accurately. what’s interesting here is omar was uniting obama critics on the right and left with a valid critique of his presidency. https://t.co/Ilmk8M3Qtd
— Siraj Hashmi, fugitive from the Ern (@SirajAHashmi) March 8, 2019
The question of the day was asked by The Washington Free Beacon’s Alex Griswold: “This… this audio just confirms the framing and quotes were correct. Why would you post this?”
We can only assume that Omar didn’t expect people to actually click on the link and listen to the audio.
Or, perhaps Speaker Nancy Pelosi is right in suggesting the newly elected lawmaker isn’t too bright.
“I think she has a different experience in the use of words, doesn’t understand that some of them are fraught with meaning that she didn’t realize,” Pelosi said Friday of Omar’s anti-Semitic remarks.
She’s not bigoted, you see, she’s just ignorant. Well ok then. https://t.co/AyYJhQm91r
— Brit Hume (@brithume) March 8, 2019
Hell, it’s getting so bad for Omar that even committed liberals are beginning to mock her, as seen in a tweet from MSNBC’s Chris Hayes: “Beginning to think Ilhan Omar is engaged in some kind of elaborate hazing of her comms staff.”
Beginning to think Ilhan Omar is engaged in some kind of elaborate hazing of her comms staff.
— Chris Hayes (@chrislhayes) March 9, 2019
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