Several Republicans are criticizing Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) after translated remarks from a speech she gave were shared on social media, in which she appears to say that Somalis will go after their “missing territories.”
Rep. Omar spent her early years in Somalia, but she immigrated to the US at the age of 13 and became a citizen at 17. She is part of a group of four progressive Democratic women in the House of Representatives, affectionately called “The Squad,” and the first Somali American to serve in Congress. Two Muslim women serve in Congress, including Omar.
House Majority Whip Tom Emmer (R-MN) demanded Omar’s resignation following remarks that he said showed her support for Somalia over the United States. Emmer criticized Omar’s comments, calling them a “slap in the face” to Minnesotans and a breach of the oath she signed when she became an official. Her remarks were shared on social media by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who added that he thinks she ought to be expelled from Congress, her citizenship revoked, and deported. Omar is hypocritical, according to Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), since he defends Somalia’s borders yet votes against measures to secure the southern United States’ borders from the massive flood of illegal immigration.
Omar was not only criticized by Republicans, but also by Somaliland’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Rhoda J. Elmi, who characterized Omar’s remarks as “regrettably unbecoming” and “ethno-racist rhetoric.” The Republic of Somaliland is a contentious piece of land between Somalia and Ethiopia; Omar was making statements about it. Somaliland claims to be a sovereign nation, although no other countries recognize it.
In response to the complaints, Omar said that her statements had been “totally off” translated, and that she was not shocked that “propagandists” would act in such a way. A more realistic translation, she says, would be that she promised to safeguard Somali borders while she is a congresswoman.