Rep. Ilhan Omar Says She's 'Pretty Sure' Sen. Lindsey Graham Is 'Compromised'

By Susan Jones | January 18, 2019 | 6:02am EST
Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

( - Freshman lawmaker Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) is suggesting, with no basis in fact, that Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) is ethically compromised because he now supports President Donald Trump.

The controversy began with a Jan. 13 tweet from someone named Qasim Rashid, who posted a video of Graham criticizing Trump in 2015: "He's a a race-baiting, xenophobic, religious bigot,” Graham said of Trump at the time. Rashid tweeted: "I can't even imagine what they have on Lindsey Graham."

Responding to Rashid on Jan. 15, Rep. Omar tweeted: "They got to him, he is compromised!"

In an appearance on CNN Thursday, Jim Sciutto told Omar, "We need to ask you about this...I wondered if you'd explain what you were talking about there?"

Omar explained:

So, over the last three years, we have seen many times where Senator Lindsay Graham has told us how dangerous this President could be if he was given the opportunity to be in the White House, and all of a sudden, he's made not only 180 turnaround but a 360 turnaround.

And so, I am pretty sure that there is something happening with him, whether it is something that has to do with his funding when it comes to running for office, whether it has something to do with the polling that they might have in his district or whether it has to do with some sort of leadership within the Senate. He is somehow compromised to no longer stand up for the truth and to make sure that he is fighting to protect the oath that he took in serving the American people.

Sciutto followed up, telling Omar, "That's quite a charge to make. You said you're pretty sure, based on what evidence, what facts? That's a remarkable comment to make about a sitting U.S. senator."

Omar responded, "The evidence really is present to us, it's being presented to us in the way that he's behaving."

Sciutto's co-host Poppy Harlow told Omar, "But that's not evidence, that's your opinion. But now, as a sitting member of Congress, you have tweeted, "they got him on this." Again, just based on what evidence Congresswoman?"

Omar told them, "My tweet was just an opinion based on what I believe to be visible to me, and I'm pretty usre there are lots of Americans who agree on this."

Harlow then asked Omar, a Somali Muslim who came to the U.S. as a refugee 23 years ago, about her criticism of Israel.

In 2012, during the fighting in Gaza, Omar wrote, "Israel has hypnotized the world, may Allah awake the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel."

Harlow asked Omar what she would say to "Jewish Americans who find that deeply offensive."

"Oh, that's really a regrettable way of expressing that," Omar said. "I don't know how my comments would be offensive to Jewish Americans. My comments precisely are addressing what was happening during the Gaza war, and I am clearly speaking about the way that the Israeli regime was conducting itself in that war."

Harlow then brought up Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), whose quote in the New York Times made it look like he was defending "white supremacy." King said he was talking about "Western Civilization."

Omar was among those who voted to reprimand King's alleged racism this week. Harlow asked Omar if the House should go even further and censure King:

"Yes, I think it's really important in a moment, in a time in our nation's history, where racism and bigotry is rampant, that we take a bold stance," Omar replied. "I am one that is for restoration and one that believes in restorative measures, and I hope now that we -- that, that wasn't followed through with, that this serves as an opportunity for the congressman to make amends and move away from the hateful speech that he has partaken in."

Here's how the New York Times quoted Rep. King last week: “White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive? Why did I sit in classes teaching me about the merits of our history and our civilization?”

But King, in a statement, said he was discussing "the worn-out label 'racist' and my observation that other slanderous labels have been increasingly assigned to Conservatives by the Left, who injected into our current political dialog such terms as Nazi, Fascist, White Nationalist, White Supremacist -- Western Civilization, how did that language become offensive? Why did I sit in classes teaching me about the merits of our history and our civilization?"

King said, "Clearly, I was only referencing Western Civilization classes. No one ever sat in a class listening to the merits of white nationalism and white supremacy.

When I used the word ‘THAT,’ it was in reference ONLY to Western Civilization and NOT to any previously stated evil ideology, ALL of which I have denounced."

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