Many of President Donald Trump’s tweets backfire, but not his tweet attack on U.S. Representative Ilhan Omar. That one tweet succeeded to perfection. Trump wishes to make Omar the face of the Democratic Party heading into the 2020 elections—and now he has provoked Democrats to comply.
Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders have offered full-throated endorsements of Omar. “Ilhan Omar is a leader with strength and courage. She won’t back down to Trump’s racism and hate, and neither will we. The disgusting and dangerous attacks against her must end,” Sanders tweeted. Kamala Harris, Beto O’Rourke, and Pete Buttigieg have expressed themselves more circumspectly, but have still aligned themselves with her in ways not easy to undo. “We are stronger than this president’s hatred and Islamophobia. Do not let him drive us apart or make us afraid,” O’Rourke tweeted. Of the 2020 hopefuls, only Amy Klobuchar added any caveat to her statement about Omar. (“You can disagree with her words—as I have done before—but this video is wrong.”) Joe Biden and Cory Booker have thus far refrained from comment.
Having promised not to “let him drive us apart” from Omar, Democrats are now stuck with responsibility for the reckless things the representative from Minnesota says, not only about Jews, but about other issues, too. Omar has already served notice that she does not intend to behave more circumspectly in the future. In a Friday-night interview, Stephen Colbert asked Omar whether she would heed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s advice to back-bench it for a while. Omar answered, “I think Nancy knows this very well. Women have been told to go slow and not be seen and not be heard for many years. She wouldn’t have made it to where she is if she did. And it’s certainly the case for minority women … We are not there to be quiet. We are not there to be invisible. We are there to follow the lead of people like Congressman John Lewis and make good trouble.”