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Ilhan Omar blasts 'demented views' in first extensive comments since Trump tweets

CNN logo CNN 4/30/2019 By Sunlen Serfaty and Noah Gray, CNN
Ilhan Omar looking at the camera: US Representative Ilhan Omar attends a youth climate rally on the west front of the US Capitol on March 15, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP)        (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images) © BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images US Representative Ilhan Omar attends a youth climate rally on the west front of the US Capitol on March 15, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

Rep. Ilhan Omar, in her first extensive remarks since President Donald Trump publicly criticized her comments about 9/11, condemned the President's "vile attacks" and "demented views."

"We are collectively saying your vile attacks, your demented views are not welcome here," the Minnesota Democrat said Tuesday at a rally outside the US Capitol. "This is not going to be the country of the xenophobics. This is not going to be the country of the white people. This is not going to be the country of the few. This is going to be the country of the many."

Omar's remarks came on her first day back on Capitol Hill after a two-week recess. While lawmakers were out of town, Trump tweeted a video on April 12 using 9/11 imagery attacking her comments about the September 11 terrorist attacks and she has since said she's had an uptick in death threats.

"When this occupant of the White House chooses to attack me, we know -- we know -- that that attack isn't for Ilhan," Omar said. "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 has reached out to the White House for comment on Omar's criticism Tuesday and has not immediately received a response.

Omar also brought up the California synagogue shooting from over the weekend and the discussion on anti-Semitism that has followed.

"At this moment, the occupant of the White House ... and his allies are doing everything that they can to distance themselves and misinform the public from the monsters that they created that is terrorizing the Jewish community and the Muslim community," Omar said. "Because when we are talking about anti-Semitism we must also talk about Islamophobia. It is two sides to the same coin of bigotry."

She added, "Just this week, when we've had the attack in California on a synagogue, it is the same person who is accused of attempting to bomb a mosque. So I can't ever speak of Islamophobia and fight for Muslims if I am not willing to fight against anti-Semitism. We collectively need to make sure that we are dismantling all systems of oppression."

John T. Earnest, the man accused in the deadly Chabad of Poway synagogue shooting, also is charged with arson of a house of worship, according to a criminal complaint, relating to a fire at a place of worship on or about March 23. The document doesn't elaborate, but authorities have said they were trying to determine whether Earnest is connected to a fire in late March at a mosque in nearby Escondido. His court-appointed public defender entered a not guilty plea on his behalf this week.

Tuesday's event outside the Capitol was essentially a pep rally meant to show support for Omar, organized by the movement for Black Lives Matter, with big signs saying "Black Women in Defense of Ilhan Omar" hanging behind the stage and speakers including activist Angela Davis.

At times, Omar appeared emotional with tears in her eyes.

"This isn't a pity party of Ilhan," she said. "This is about a show of strength. This is a show of strength."

"This is for us to say, this is for us to say that if you come after one of us, you come after all of us," said Omar, who arrived to the US as a refugee and is the first Somali American member of Congress.

"If I survived militia I certainly can survive these people," she said after gesturing to the Capitol.

Omar was joined Tuesday by fellow progressive freshmen Democratic Reps. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts.

"I can't even believe that we're in a debate about whether or not to impeach when the occupant, the man in the highest office in the land, emboldens white supremacy and endangers the lives of a member of Congress," said Pressley, who has signed on to a resolution backing impeachment headed by Tlaib.

"I say hands off," Tlaib said. "Hands off of the women of color that serve in the United States Congress. Not only do we look differently but we serve and we fight differently. But it also means that we talk differently. It's also that we are allowed to be angry in this country."

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