Rep. Omar defended the ongoing impeachment inquiry and her endorsement of Bernie Sanders while participating in a podcast taping at GW.
By Kristen Mitchell
There are plenty of reasons why President Donald Trump should be impeached by Congress and removed from office, said Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) while speaking at George Washington University on Wednesday. Going after him for wrongdoing related to Ukraine, however, is the “clean and clear” option that will move the process along in a timely manner, she said.
Rep. Omar related the case to Al Capone, the notorious Prohibition-era gangster linked to numerous homicides but who was ultimately imprisoned for tax evasion. The public was aware of other crimes Capone committed and why he deserved to be in prison despite the charges, she said.
“I’m confident that we will impeach this president on this particular account in Ukraine, but the American people are going to know every other reason why he deserves to be impeached,” she said.
Rep. Omar participated in a live taping of the Intercept’s Deconstructed podcast at Jack Morton Auditorium alongside outspoken director and author Michael Moore. The podcast is hosted by Mehdi Hasan, who gave audience members the opportunity to ask Rep. Omar questions following the conclusion of the taping.
Rep. Omar is a first-term congresswoman who was elected alongside a wave of progressive lawmakers in 2018. She is the first Somali American and one of the first two Muslim women elected to Congress. She recently endorsed Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) in the 2020 Democratic primary.
Mr. Hasan reminded Rep. Omar that the last time she was on the podcast, during her campaign, she said Sen. Sanders should not run for president again and that she considered herself part of the Elizabeth Warren wing of the party. He asked her why she had a change of heart.
Mr. Hasan “always comes with receipts” she joked, but sometimes you have to be reminded about “the vision you truly believe in and where your core values lie.”
“When I think about Bernie, I think about someone who’s building a movement and not just running for president,” she said. “There was an America I have dreamed about, there is an America I think we deserve, and Bernie is the only one who shares that vision for the America we all want.”
Rep. Ilhan Omar (left) said she believes the impeachment proceedings against President Trump will result in him being removed from office. (Harrison Jones/ GW Today)
Mr. Moore also supports Sen. Sanders and first endorsed him nearly 30 years ago in his first congressional race. He’s continued to support him over the past several decades because Sen. Sanders has “never sold out” or gone back on his word.
The Democratic Party’s No. 1 job is to get Mr. Trump out of office, Mr. Moore said, and Sen. Sanders has the power to crush the president in the 2020 presidential election.
“The only heart attack we need to worry about is the one Wall Street’s going to have when he’s inaugurated as president of the United States,” he said.
Mr. Moore cautioned that Democrats do not really know what is going to happen over the next year, and it’s unclear that Mr. Trump will be on the ballot in 2020. Mr. Trump is accused of withholding aid from Ukraine in exchange for information about a political rival. Mr. Moore believes Vice President Mike Pence is also wrapped up in the scandal and will be ushered out of office alongside the president.
“We may be running a contest against Mitt Romney. [Michael] Bloomberg may decide to go back to being a Republican,” he said. “This could go any number of ways.”
Mr. Trump’s anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim rhetoric has been fuel for white supremacists, Rep. Omar said. The congresswoman—and other recently elected congresswomen known as the Squad—have become a frequent target for Mr. Trump and conservative media. Threats from online trolls often repeat the same talking points the president uses about her, she said.
Tech companies like Facebook are not doing enough to crack down on this type of hateful language, which endangers Rep. Omar’s life and the lives of people who share her identities, she said.
“When they describe me as a terrorist, every single Somali girl or Muslim girl that’s walking down the street that resembles me, her life is also in danger,” she said. “What I am afraid of is what the messages they are putting out there could mean for every young girl who looks like me.”