Rep. Ilhan Omar on Monday dismissed President Donald Trump’s ability to navigate escalating tensions with Iran, pointing to the controversy over Hurricane Dorian’s path and whether it would hit Alabama.
“Congress has the constitutional right to declare war. The President doesn’t have it. The secretary of state doesn’t it have and Saudi Arabia certainly doesn’t have it,” Omar, a Minnesota Democrat, told CNN’s Erin Burnett on “OutFront.” “I think we need to make sure that the American people understand that this administration – that lies about weather maps or crowd sizes – cannot be trusted to give us the full information we need to be able to make a decision whether we should be going to war or not with Iran.”
“We are not in a position to think about another endless war and I really hope that my colleagues in Congress are going to pressure this administration to take a step back and figure out how we use diplomacy in the de-escalating the situation,” she added.
Omar’s invocation of past Trump administration falsehoods comes after Trump told reporters Monday that “it’s looking like” Iran was behind this weekend’s attack on oil facilities in Saudi Arabia but suggested it was too early to say for sure. The freshman Democrat was specifically referencing Trump’s multiple false claims that Hurricane Dorian was likely to hit Alabama and a controversy from just after his inauguration in 2017, when then-White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Trump’s inauguration crowd was the largest ever in contradiction to all available data.
Trump said Monday he was “not looking to get into new conflict, but sometimes you have to.”
On Sunday night, Trump tweeted that the US is “locked and loaded depending on verification” – a refrain that Marc Short, the vice president’s chief of staff, told reporters Monday morning may not refer to military action.
“I think that locked and loaded is a broad term and talks about the realities that we’re all far safer and more secure domestically from energy independence,” Short said.
As Trump gears up for a 2020 reelection battle, a notable lack of public trust in information coming from the White House – such as the falsehoods Omar referenced – continue to dog his administration.
A CNN/SSRS poll released last week shows that overall, 71% say they trust only some or nothing at all of what they hear from official White House communications, about the same as the 68% who felt that way in late 2017.