Under Fire, Ilhan Omar Spits Some Fire of Her Own

The Minnesota congresswoman ripped a Trump-appointed envoy for his role in the Iran-Contra affair.

ZUMA

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As Republican leaders continue to heap criticism on Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) for a tweet that was widely denounced as anti-Semitic—for which Omar has since apologized—the congresswoman’s fierce questioning of a newly appointed Trump administration envoy on Wednesday offered a possible reason Republicans are so eager to vilify her. 

The moment came during a fiery exchange with Elliott Abrams, a hardline neoconservative who was recently dispatched by the administration to be a special envoy to the deepening crisis in Venezuela, as he appeared before the House Foreign Affairs Committee. When Omar’s time for questioning arrived, the congresswoman wasted no time invoking Abrams’ 1991 guilty plea to two counts of withholding information before Congress about the Iran-Contra affair in the Reagan administration.

“I fail to understand why members of this committee or the American people should find any testimony you give today to be truthful,” Omar said.

“If I could respond to that—” Abrams interrupted. 

“It wasn’t a question,” Omar shot back. She continued her remarks, turning to Abrams’ later denial of US-supported massacres in Central America.

“Some of those troops bragged about raping 12-year-old girls before they killed them,” Omar said. “You later said that the US policy in El Salvador was a ‘fabulous achievement.’ Yes or no, do you still think so?”

Clearly offended, Abrams responded, “From the day that President Duarte was elected in a free election, to this day, El Salvador has been a democracy. That’s a ‘fabulous achievement.'”

“Yes or no, do you think that massacre was a fabulous achievement that happened under our watch?” Omar pressed further, before Abrams slammed the line of questioning as a personal attack.

If Republicans had hoped that their pummeling of Omar would prevent fireworks-filled moments like this, it doesn’t appear to have worked.

 

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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