Rep. Ilhan Omar, who has been engaged in a highly-personal feud with President Donald Trump, said in a new op-ed that the 2020 presidential election will be “a fight for the soul of our nation,” arguing that Trump has “weaponized” the country’s democratic institutions.
“The president’s rally will be a defining moment in American history. It reminds us of the grave stakes of the coming presidential election: that this fight is not merely about policy ideas; it is a fight for the soul of our nation,” Omar wrote in the opinion piece published Thursday in The New York Times.
Omar, who along with three other minority congresswomen known as “the squad” was recently criticized by the President in racist terms, was referring to chants of “send her back” that broke out last week at a rally hosted by Trump in North Carolina. The chants, which were eventually disavowed by the President, echoed similar language he used in his recent attacks on the congresswomen.
“Today, that basic promise is under threat. Our democratic institutions have been weaponized,” Omar, a Minnesota Democrat, wrote in the op-ed. “And the president has used overtly racist rhetoric to strike fear and division in communities of color and religious minorities across the country.”
She continued: “The idea – explicitly expressed by this president and enshrined into law by executive order – that people from certain Muslim-majority countries cannot enter this country is not just bad policy; it is a direct threat to liberal democracy.”
Omar also argued in the op-ed that by making his attacks on the four lawmakers, Trump was distracting Americans from his administration’s policies.
“Throughout our history, racist language has been used to turn American against American in order to benefit the wealthy elite. Every time Mr. Trump attacks refugees is a time that could be spent discussing the president’s unwillingness to raise the federal minimum wage for up to 33 million Americans,” she wrote.
“Every racist attack on four members of Congress is a moment he doesn’t have to address why his choice for labor secretary has spent his career defending Wall Street banks and Walmart at the expense of workers.”
Last week, the House voted to condemn the racist language Trump used in his attacks on the lawmakers. Since then, he has continued his attacks on the group, questioning earlier this week their commitment to America and saying on Twitter that they are “destroying the Democrat Party.”
CNN’s Jamie Ehrlich contributed to this report.