Rudolph W. Giuliani, the former New York mayor and now President Trump’s attorney, shared a misleading video clip on Twitter late Thursday night that has spread on right-wing conspiracy sites claiming that Rep. Ilhan Omar took classes on terrorism.
In retweeting the video, Giuliani, who was mayor during the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, wrote: “What is she laughing at in recalling her terrorism classes? This represents the future of the Democrat Party? God help us.”
A liberal Democrat from Minnesota, Omar is one of the first two Muslim women elected to Congress last year and the first to wear a hijab. Since her election, she has faced intense scrutiny and criticism for her comments on Israel.
Last month a poster was found hanging in the West Virginia Capitol with a picture of the burning twin towers next to a photo of Omar. It said: “ ‘Never forget’ — you said. I am the proof — you have forgotten.”
In the undated video, Omar, who is a Somali refugee, talks about her time at college and says, “I took a short terrorism class.” The interviewer laughs and asks if there were field trips involved. “We learned the ideology,” she replies. Omar attended North Dakota State University and studied political science and international relations.
Omar’s office declined to comment.
The snippet of the video being shared is from a 25-minute 2013 interview with Omar, not yet in politics, after the terrorist attack at a mall in Kenya. She appeared on Minnesota’s Arab-American TV show “Belahdan” to discuss how Muslims are often called upon to speak out after an attack carried out by an Islamic terrorist. Omar says during the full interview that it doesn’t make sense for her to feel as if she’s required to explain “these heinous acts.”
"When you have an individual in a Western society that goes on and does commit mass murder — we have mass shootings that happen constantly here — we investigate that person and what has driven them to commit this act," she said. "When an act is committed by these Muslim terrorists, what we investigate is that whole community. We investigate that whole faith, we investigate that whole society."
Giuliani retweeted a 39-second clip of the interview video shared by Oliver McGee, a political analyst who worked on Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign and then worked for the Republican candidates, including Trump, after Barack Obama won the election.
“Retweet @Ilhan CAUGHT ON TAPE laughing without empathy on taking terrorism classes,” McGee wrote. “Did Rep. @IlhanMN forget terrorism killed 2,996 & injured 6,000 Americans on 9-11? Americans don’t like lawmakers laughing about Terrorism! It’s a Crime, NOT a JOKE!”
Others have shared the video of Omar, including Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials and a major donor for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. The officials were widely condemned for trafficking in such conspiracy theories, according to BuzzFeed, which broke that story. The donor, Adam Milstein, withdrew from participating in the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s conference that begins next week after tweeting the video and other disparaging claims about Omar, reported Haaretz.
Last month, Omar came under fire from Democrats and Republicans alike for criticizing Israel, including saying that AIPAC’s monetary influence is why politicians are pro-Israel. Some said Omar’s remarks perpetuated anti-Semitic stereotypes, and it led to a large debate on Capitol Hill over whether to condemn the House member for her comments.
Ultimately, the House passed a resolution condemning all forms of hate.