As you probably know, Ilhan Omar is back in the news. She has taken a lot of criticism for her “some people did something” speech to a CAIR group in California. The problem with Omar’s speech is that she portrayed the September 11 terrorist attacks in anodyne fashion, while suggesting that their real significance lay in the horrific infringements of civil liberties that followed. (Only, of course, they didn’t.) Liberals have generally fallen in line to support Omar, while President Trump tweeted this just a few hours ago:
WE WILL NEVER FORGET! pic.twitter.com/VxrGFRFeJM
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 12, 2019
But Omar made the news today because of this tweet, which is puzzling to say the least:
“The people — and the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon!” President George W. Bush
Was Bush downplaying the terrorist attack?
What if he was a Muslim 🤔 https://t.co/XMazssoD49
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) April 12, 2019
What is striking about Omar’s tweet is that there is no angle from which it makes sense. She implies that President Bush said something comparable to her “some people did something” riff, but the implied analogy is nonexistent. Bush vowed to destroy the terrorists who attacked the U.S. Omar suggested that the terrorist attacks were of little consequence except insofar as they prompted an alleged backlash against Muslims–by President Bush, presumably. The two statements could hardly be more different.
In fact, the only thing they have in common is that they include the word “people.” Can Congresswoman Omar be so dimwitted that she thought others would see this as a clever parallel?
Yes, I think she may be. There have been a number of occasions when Omar has said and done things that led me to wonder whether she is a person of unusually limited intelligence. Today’s tweet is very much in that category.
This afternoon, I happened to talk with someone who worked in the Minnesota House of Representatives during the brief time when Omar represented a district there. He said that she was widely regarded as an “idiot”–that was the term he used–who was unable to understand proposed legislation or to participate coherently in committee proceedings. Then as now, her only shtick consisted of complaining about imagined discrimination against Muslims.
Last month, I wrote about Nancy Pelosi’s half-hearted defense of Omar in a post titled Ilhan Omar: World-historical Figure or Inarticulate Child? Pelosi defended Omar’s multiple anti-Semitic comments and other gaffes on the ground that she has a “different experience in the use of words.” But I think Omar’s problem lies deeper than her (very good) command of English.