Recently, Florida Gov. and former GOP primary candidate Ron DeSantis blasted Minnesota Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar, calling for her removal from Congress following a controversial speech where she said her role as an American politician was to act in the interest of Somalia. DeSantis also suggested Omar should be denaturalized as a U.S. citizen and deported back to Somalia for her comments.
Following Omar’s speech to Somalian leaders in Minnesota in late January, Republicans were quick to firmly rebuke the representative. In her remarks, she failed to mention her support for the United States, the country Omar was elected to serve. Instead, she noted that she was “Somalian first, Muslim second” while she was “here to protect the interests of Somalia from inside the U.S. system,” according to a translation of her speech.
Amid the conservative backlash against Omar, defense attorney Marina Medvin denounced the liberal congresswoman’s comments, where she didn’t once indicate her interest in representing America. Medvin’s powerful comment elicited DeSnatis’ powerful response, calling for Omar’s removal from American politics and subsequent deportation.
“Ilhan Omar, an American congresswoman, tells Somalians that she is Somalian first, Muslim second, and… [no, American wasn’t even mentioned]. Oh, and she says that her primary job in Congress is to protect Somali interests,” Medvin posted on X. DeSantis responded to the tweet, “Expel from Congress, denaturalize and deport!”
Omar received criticism from several other lawmakers, such as House Majority Whip Tom Emmer, who stated, “Ilhan Omar’s appalling, Somalia-first comments are a slap in the face to the Minnesotans she was elected to serve and a direct violation of her oath of office. She should resign in disgrace.”
Ambassador Rhoda J Elmi, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Republic of Somaliland, posted on X, denouncing Omar’s “ethno-racist” rhetoric. “We were profoundly surprised, even shocked on discovering the remarks made by Congresswoman Ilhan Omar (D) of Minnesota in a recent public forum, widely circulated on most social media platforms and attached below for your reference,” she said. “The language she employed was regrettably unbecoming of both the office she holds and the constituents she represents.”
“Her expressions were lacking in common decency and revealed a significant lack of understanding of basic facts. Specifically troubling, were her endeavors to revive the once-violent and dangerous ideology of Greater Somalia or Somali Weyn, which caused so much death, destruction and conflict in the Horn of Africa,” the ambassador added in her post.
However, Omar has defended her comments in the speech, alleging the interpretation was slanted and used for propaganda. “It’s not only slanted but completely off, but I wouldn’t expect more from these propagandists. I pray for them and for their sanity. No nation-state can survive if its states start to get involved in land lease negotiations with other countries without the consent of the federal government. Somalis in Somalia and in the diaspora are united in that effort and I stand in solidarity with them. No amount of harassment and lies will ever change that,” said Omar.
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