Donald Trump’s Friday attack on Rep. Ilhan Omar—an attack he followed up Monday morning—looked like a call to violence against her—and it’s accomplished that mission. “Since the president’s tweet Friday evening, I have experienced an increase in direct threats on my life—many directly referencing or replying to the president’s video,” Omar said in a statement. “We are all Americans. This is endangering lives. It has to stop.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi requested a security review over the weekend, saying that “Following the president’s tweet, I spoke with the sergeant-at-arms to ensure that Capitol Police are conducting a security assessment to safeguard Congresswoman Omar, her family and her staff. They will continue to monitor and address the threats she faces.” Pelosi also condemned Trump’s attack, saying that “The President’s words weigh a ton, and his hateful and inflammatory rhetoric creates real danger. President Trump must take down his disrespectful and dangerous video.”
A Trump campaign aide tried to shift blame for the danger Omar faces onto Omar herself, saying that “her ill-thought-out words,” and not Trump’s call to violence, are the problem. But Omar’s statement about Trump’s attack put it squarely in context: “Violent crimes and other acts of hate by right-wing extremists and white nationalists are on the rise in this country and around the world. We can no longer ignore that they are being encouraged by the occupant of the highest office in the land. Counties that hosted a 2016 Trump rally saw a 226 percent increase in hate crimes in the months following the rally. And assaults increase when cities host Trump rallies.” Rep. Omar is not responsible for the rise in hate crimes, and she is not responsible for the threats on her life. Donald Trump, on the other hand, is an active factor in both.