Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar has once again landed herself in controversy just days after her comments prompted a House vote condemning anti-Semitism. This time, she has claimed a reporter "misquoted" her criticizing former president Barack Obama. However, audio footage from the interview released by her Twitter account backfired badly as it appeared to verify the report's accuracy.
In a conversation with Politico Magazine, 37-year-old Omar claimed that while she is significantly critical of President Trump's initiatives, former President Obama has walked away unscathed from the ramifications of his own "bad policies" because he was "polished" and had a "pretty face," Daily Mail reports.
After the interview, the news outlet quoted her word to word. However, Omar, who was not pleased with the article, said it was "Exhibit A of how reporters distort words. I’m an Obama fan!" She added: "I was saying how Trump is different from Obama, and why we should focus on policy, not politics. This is why I always tape my interviews," attaching nearly two minutes of audio and a winking emoticon.
Upon reviewing and transcribing the recording, several outlets found that it supported what Politico journalist Tim Alberta said. "Exhibit A of how politicians use the media as a straw man to avoid owning what they said," he wrote in a tweet. "Your tape...supports what I wrote 100%. So does my longer tape. It's beyond dispute. Next time, a phone call from your office before the Twitter ambush would be appreciated."
Exhibit A of how reporters distort words.— Rep. Ilhan Omar (@Ilhan) March 8, 2019
I’m an Obama fan! I was saying how Trump is different from Obama, and why we should focus on policy not politics.
This is why I always tape my interviews. 😜 https://t.co/iZOAEslo1c https://t.co/8rjIq5LfxD
In her rant against the former administration, the Minnesota freshman congresswoman slammed Obama's arbitrary use of military drones to take out terror networks in the middle east. She even compared Obama's policy of separating migrant children from their parents to Trump's border policies, which many border experts argue have been misrepresented in mainstream media.
In her assault against the former president, Omar also implied that he got away with bad policy decisions because of his "pretty face."
"We can't be only upset with Trump … His policies are bad, but many of the people who came before him also had really bad policies," Omar said, as quoted by Politico. "They just were more polished than he was. And that's not what we should be looking for anymore. We don't want anybody to get away with murder because they are polished. We want to recognize the actual policies that are behind the pretty face and the smile," she said.
Omar's disparaging comments against Obama were published right after the House passed a resolution 407 to 23 condemning hate speech on Thursday, which was a legislative move in response to her widely criticized anti-Semitic statements. The charged infighting among Democrats over the resolution illustrates a markedly dark time for the party, with many critics saying it has been taken over by "radicals" on the left.
The freshman representative also drew comparisons between the new wave of progressive Democrats who are "challenging" the old guard as well as the conservative Tea Party.
"We look at the negative aspects of the Tea Party and not really at the part of them that spoke to the American people, that made them feel like there were people actively fighting for them," she said. "There's a resemblance there. A lot of us are not that much different in our eagerness to want to come here and fight for our constituents, fight for the American ideals we believe in."
Quite a few senior congressional Democrats were infuriated by Omar's comments, especially some Jewish committee chairmen, who advised her to stop using anti-Semitic "tropes."