Donald Trump Has to Know How Dangerous His Tweets About Rep. Ilhan Omar Are
How can he not?
Earlier this morning, Donald Trump retweeted two videos from “comedian” Terrence Williams, plus a third tweet where he quoted one of the videos, writing “Terrence K. Williams, ‘You can’t impeach Trump for being a winner!’” Because Trump will tweet and retweet and thank and congratulate pretty much anyone who praises him—even when that praise comes in the form of egregious and even dangerous misinformation.
One of those videos, which has now been removed, showed Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar dancing to Lizzo. It was a video taken over the weekend at a Congressional Black Caucus event.
Williams, though, asserted that the video was taken on the anniversary of 9/11, and that that was what Omar was celebrating. (Because apparently Muslim women aren’t allowed to experience any degree of joy without people immediately conjuring up anti-Islam conspiracy theories.) Since the actual video was only a few days old, it would have been incredibly easy to fact check its origin, which is this tweet from this tweet from Adam Green of Bold Progressives:
— Adam Green (@AdamGreen) September 14, 2019
Omar herself retweeted the video, which is likely where Williams saw it. But Trump doesn’t care about facts. Most of us have some relative who spends their time on social media posting fake news articles and memes pushing conspiracy theories, either because they believe them or because they don’t care that they’re lies so long as they fit the general truthiness of a narrative they like. That’s Trump. He just also happens to be the President of the United States.
He retweeted Williams’ video, writing “Ilhan Omar, a member of AOC Plus 3, will win us the Great State of Minnesota. The new face of the Democrat Party!”
This isn’t the first time Trump has tweeted something about Rep. Omar that is obviously false and designed only to stir up Islamaphobic hate. Omar has called him on this habit before—especially since we’ve seen a clear rise in violence from people with manifestos echoing Trump’s own rhetoric on these issues—and she did so again now.
This is from a CBC event we hosted this weekend to celebrate black women in Congress.
The President of the United States is continuing to spread lies that put my life at risk.
What is Twitter doing to combat this misinformation? https://t.co/XdkRVrU7mZ
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) September 18, 2019
What is Twitter doing to combat misinformation? In recent months, they’ve created some tools to try to limit the spread of misinformation around specific issues like—or maybe at this point only—anti-vaxxing. And while Williams’ tweet is gone, Twitter told The Washington Post that they didn’t take action to remove it. Even if it had been removed after other users reported it, misinformation isn’t an option for the reason why you’re reporting something. (Targeted harassment is, though.)
On top of that, Williams’ tweet may be gone but Trump’s is still up, as are, I’m sure, plenty of other retweets that contribute to the spreading of lies like this one.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations is calling on Twitter to remove Trump’s tweet and to suspend his account:
This is not the first time the President has tweeted anti-Muslim content. In November, 2017, he retweeted three vitriolic and unverified anti-Muslim videos posted by Britain First, a British far-right group with a history of fear mongering. In July and August of this year, Trump retweeted posts by Katie Hopkins, a notorious Islamophobe.
This type of behavior from the sitting president of the United States is simply unacceptable. This false and hate-filled tweet must be removed and action taken by Twitter against the president and the source of the false information.
The Congressional Black Caucus has also called for Twitter to remove Trump’s tweet, as has Bold Progressives, calling it “an abhorrent lie that endangers a Member of Congress.”
(image: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
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