The son of a victim of the September 11 terror attacks criticized Democratic Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar and “The Squad” during a remembrance ceremony at Ground Zero in New York City on Wednesday.
Nicholas Haros Jr. of New Jersey wore a shirt that referenced Omar’s March remarks before the Council on American-Islamic Relations, in which she said, “CAIR was founded after 9/11 because they recognized that some people did something and that all of us were starting to lose access to our civil liberties.” After reading some victims’ names Wednesday at the event commemorating the 18th anniversary of the attacks, Haros Jr. said, “Some people did something,” while pointing to his shirt, on which those words were printed. The moment came as he spoke of his late mother, 76-year-old Francis Haros, as well as friends and co-workers who died in the World Trade Center attacks.
” ‘Some people did something,’ said a freshman congresswoman from Minnesota. To support and justify the creation of CAIR. Today I am here to respond to you exactly who did what to whom,” he said as some audience members applauded. “Madam, objectively speaking, we know who and what was done. There is no uncertainty about that. Why your confusion?”
“On that day, 19 Islamic terrorists, members of Al Qaeda killed over 3,000 people and caused billions in dollars of economic damage. Is that clear? But as to whom? I was attacked, your relatives and friends were attacked. Our constitutional freedoms were attacked. And our nation’s founding on Judeo-Christian principles were attacked. That’s what some people did. Got that now?” he continued. “We are here today, congresswoman, to tell you and The Squad just who did what to whom. Show respect in honoring them, please. American patriotism – in your position demand it.”
Omar and Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts have come to be known as “The Squad” on Capitol Hill. The four progressive congresswomen of color have been the focus of intense scrutiny and criticism from President Donald Trump and Republicans, have sparred with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in their drive to move the Democratic Party leftward and have attracted controversy – most notably over their criticism of the American relationship with Israel.
Haros Jr. told CNN on Wednesday that Omar’s previous remarks “hurt me personally, my family, and other victims of 9/11 families,” also saying, “I felt as a son of a victim to step up and set the record straight.”
He said it was the right time to speak out and argued that his comments were not political.
“I was not speaking to a woman, a woman of color, or a Democrat. (They) were remarks for a congresswoman who I feel should have sympathy for fellow Americans,” he said.
Omar’s office declined to comment on Haros’ criticisms when reached by CNN Wednesday, but earlier Wednesday Omar tweeted from her personal account that “September 11th was an attack on all of us,” adding: “I will continue to fight to make sure we care for the first responders and families who lost loved ones.” A video of Omar expressing how the 9/11 attacks affected her was also tweeted from her congressional account.
In reference to those tweets, Haros Jr. told CNN that Omar “showed respect for the loss of families. And that was a good thing.”
Trump tweeted a video in April using 9/11 imagery attacking Omar’s March remarks, but the under-a-minute video that Trump posted did not include Omar’s comments in context. The congresswoman – who was defended by Democrats while conservative circles heavily criticized her comments – said at the time that she had experienced an increase in death threats.
In her first remarks following the President’s tweeting of the video, Omar in April condemned what she called Trump’s “vile attacks” and “demented views,” saying at the time, “When this occupant of the White House chooses to attack me, we know – we know – that that attack isn’t for Ilhan. That attack is the continuation of the attacks that he has leveled against women, against people of color, against immigrants, against refugees and certainly against Muslims.”
CNN’s Sunlen Serfaty contributed to this report.