Freshman Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., is perhaps best known for her antisemitic rhetoric, radically left-wing policy, and mounting allegations that she committed marriage and immigration fraud.
But as I argue in my new book, “American Ingrate: Ilhan Omar and the Progressive-Islamist Takeover of the Democratic Party,” the sensational aspects of Omar’s story belie the fact that she is not only one of the most prominent symbols of the Democratic Party’s ascendant far-left base, but a powerful player in her own right. Her collusion with Islamist adversaries foreign and domestic, and alleged criminality and proven corruption, should send chills down the spines of Americans.
Ilhan Omar Is a Significant Democratic Player
Omar’s clout was demonstrated most recently when Democratic presidential front-runner Bernie Sanders tabbed her campaign co-chair in the all-important 2020 state of Minnesota. The congresswoman also recently introduced a battery of bills concerning foreign policy that senior Obama National Security Council official Ben Rhodes characterized as the “new progressive baseline.”
Lest we forget, this is a House member who, in spite of her known virulent antisemitism, blame America first positions, and potentially compromising background, retains a seat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, which grapples with the most sensitive national security and foreign policy information and issues.
The party signaled a willingness to allow her to act with impunity, effectively condoning her rhetoric and behavior by refusing to censure her by name for her comments, specifically regarding the so-called Israel lobby, and her invocation of other antisemitic tropes.
Omar’s symbolic and substantive significance is summarized simply in the reality that a vote for Sanders is a vote for Omar and their shared agenda of socialism at home and submission abroad. Yet she has faced almost zero media scrutiny. She and her supporters attack as bigots the few who dare pursue her story. But it would be bigoted to treat her differently from any other politician on the basis of her identity traits.
In writing “American Ingrate,” I sought answers to some of the most vexing yet basic issues about Omar’s background, positions, and associations. I delivered a list of questions via email first to Omar’s chief communications staffer in September 2019, then to her general press account in December 2019, and again in February 2020 following the release of “American Ingrate.” Neither Omar nor her office ever responded.
Below is my verbatim letter. I hope someday Omar will provide answers to my queries. Perhaps she will in her memoir set to be released in May, which she announced within hours after the release of “American Ingrate” could be preordered.
Dear Congresswoman Omar:
My name is Ben Weingarten. I am a national security and foreign policy analyst, and write for several publications including The Federalist, where I am a Senior Contributor. In connection with a book on which I am working, I wanted to ask for your comment on several questions. Please find them below:
2. While your family was in Somalia, it has been reported that your father was a “teacher trainer,” while other family members were civil servants. A Washington Post article from April 1980 notes that “Teachers and civil servants were required to attend weekly indoctrination classes run by the Soviet-created Political Office of the presidency, and any Somalian official ‘judged to have a ‘non-socialist’ attitude [was] retired or dismissed from government service,’ the CIA reported.” Was your father indoctrinated in, and/or tasked with indoctrinating others in the ideology promulgated by the Political Office? Assuming he was a member of the Somali Revolutionary Socialist Party, did he ever renounce his allegiance to it? Were your relatives who were employed as civil servants indoctrinated consistent with the claims of the Washington Post article cited?
3. You have spoken in interviews of the influence your grandfather, who you have referred to as “Abukar,” had on your politics. As Director of Marine Transport under the Barre regime, was he a member of the Somali Revolutionary Socialist Party? What did his work consist of?
4. Public records indicate that during the period in which you were completing your studies at North Dakota State University, you lived for a time at the same address as both Ahmed Nur Said Elmi, and Ahmed Hirsi, and for another period solely with Hirsi while you were still legally married to Elmi. Is this accurate?
5. On August 10, 2017, in the course of your divorce proceeding with Ahmed Nur Said Elmi, you swore under penalty of perjury to a number of statements, including that your last contact with Ahmed Nur Said Elmi was in June 2011. Screenshots from social media accounts bearing your handle, and Mr. Elmi’s handle, indicate several instances of contact between yourself and Elmi subsequent to June 2011. Do you have an explanation for this discrepancy? Why have you, per captured social media records, deleted specifically numerous posts reflecting your relationship with Elmi?
6. On the “Report of Receipts and Expenditures” that you filed with the Minnesota Campaign Finance & Public Disclosure Board (CFB) covering the period from 1/1/2016 through 7/18/2016, appended hereto, the third entry details a campaign contribution of $1,000.00 attributable to a “Self-employed Candidate” named “Omar, Ilhan S.” (See appended document immediately following this letter.) Per public documents, your full name is Ilhan Abdullahi Omar. Assuming you are the person referenced in the CFB document, how do you account for this discrepancy in your middle name?
7. You have demanded that President Donald Trump release his tax records, yet have not responded to inquiries to release your own — presumably the ones you corrected from 2014 and 2015 — from mainstream publications such as the Associated Press. Why?
8. An April 2015 MPR News article notes that you were “friends with some of the young men who joined the Somali terror group al-Shabab several years ago.” What are the names of these men, and what was the extent of your relationship with them?
9. The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) was listed as an unindicted co-conspirator in the largest terrorist financing prosecution in U.S. history. You have appeared at numerous events sponsored by the organization’s various chapters, and received campaign contributions from the CAIR-CA PAC and numerous CAIR officers. As a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, do you consider it appropriate to consort with organizations, and the officials thereof, listed as unindicted co-conspirators in terror financing cases? If not, would you pledge to cease contact with CAIR and its officials, and vow to return any and all contributions you receive from CAIR and its officials in the future?
10. Would you make publicly available a list of all government officials, and members of non-governmental organizations, with whom you met during trips to (i) Turkey, and (ii) Somalia, subsequent to August 9, 2016? Did you ever visit Turkey prior to such time, and if so, when and for what purpose?
11. In September 2017 as a Minneapolis State Representative, you had a meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Who else was in that meeting, on whose authority did you take it, and were you briefed and debriefed by relevant U.S. government officials regarding its substance? Have you met with Turkish government officials on any other occasions? If so, with whom, and to what did the meeting(s) pertain?
12. Do you categorically and unequivocally deny having any communications with Somali Foreign Minister (FM) Ahmed Isse Awad, or any Somali official, regarding votes taken at the U.N. Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in 2019? If not, do you categorically and unequivocally deny having any communications with Somali FM Awad, or any Somali official, regarding votes taken at the UNHRC in March 2019 pertaining to Israel?
13. How would you propose strengthening America’s defenses against jihadists seeking to infiltrate the country via immigration, as for example U.S. authorities reported ISIS planned to do by embedding jihadists among refugees? Do you consider the potential for jihadists to enter the homeland through immigration to be a legitimate national security issue? How would you propose America grapple with the threat of jihadists already in the country, given there were 1,000 open investigations into ISIS alone as reported in May 2018?
14. You were one of only two Minnesota state representatives to vote against bill HF 1397 in the Minnesota House of Representatives, which concerned limiting payments to beneficiaries of terror suspects. Why did you vote against this bill?
If Omar is who the Democratic front-runner entrusts with Minnesota in 2020, America deserves a response to these questions.