At President Donald Trump’s Duluth, Minnesota, rally on Wednesday night, September 29, an extended riff by Trump attacking Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, and refugees in general, was followed by a familiar chant by his supporters: “Lock her up.”
About 3,000 people attended the rally, which featured many of Trump’s greatest hits, including attacking former Vice President Joe Biden, the media and Fox News’ Chris Wallace, who moderated Tuesday’s debate between the two men. The debate was widely panned by journalists across the political spectrum as the worst they’d ever seen, and has caused the Commission on Presidential Debates to mull changing the rules for the next one.
“Lock her up” began as a frequent chant at Trump’s rallies during the 2016 election in reference to Hillary Clinton. Omar is a Somali American, the first elected as a lawmaker in the country, the Washington Post reported. She has also been a frequent target of Trump’s ire.
Trump Baselessly Claimed That Omar Is ‘Corrupt’ & Warned the Crowd That Biden Would Turn Minnesota Into a ‘Refugee Camp’ of Somalis
"Biden will turn Minnesota into a refugee camp" — Speaking in a state with one of the largest Somali populations in the country, Trump goads his fans into booing refugees, prompting "lock her up!" chants directed at Ilhan Omar pic.twitter.com/dT2yuHxFDZ
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) October 1, 2020
Trump launched into a tirade against Omar and Somali refugees, first claiming that Biden would increase the number of refugees admitted into the country by 700%. The Washington Post noted this week that, although Biden does want to increase refugee admissions to 95,000 annually, the number by which Trump has reduced them already from the last administration makes the comparison deceptive.
Here are Trump’s comments on Omar and refugees, during which his supporters booed the mention of refugees:
Another massive issue for Minnesota is the election of Joe Biden’s plan to inundate your state with a historic flood of refugees. Biden and Crazy Bernie Sanders have agreed on a manifesto … It’s the worst thing you’ve ever seen. But they pledged a 700% increase in refugees. Congratulations, Minnesota, congratulations.
Trump then referred to a dubious video released by the right-wing group Project Veritas this week that accuses Omar and her allies in Minnesota of voter fraud, while providing no evidence. He also said Omar tries “to tell us how to run our country” (Omar is a U.S. citizen) and alluded to other crimes he claims the congresswoman has committed. Here are Trump’s remarks, during which his supporters began chanting, “Lock her up”:
What about Omar, where she gets caught harvesting [ballots]. What the hell is going on? I hope your U.S. Attorney is involved. What is going on with Omar? I’ve been reading these reports for two years about how corrupt and crooked she is. Frankly, harvesting is terrible, but it’s the least of the things she’s done. How the hell? And then she tries to tell us how to run our country. Can you believe it? How the hell did Minnesota elect her? What the hell is wrong with you people, right? What the hell happened?
Are you a big fan of Omar? I don’t think so. Stand up. Look at this guy. Nobody’s going to fight him. I don’t think you’re a big fan of Omar, right? No, she’s been crooked for a long time, and this is the least of it. It’s time. And you know, [Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez] also. It’s time. It’s time. You take a look at the corruption, the disgusting corruption.
Trump then returned to the subject of refugees, and when he named the country Somalia, his supporters began booing.
“A 700% increase in refugees, coming from the most dangerous places in the world, including Yemenm, Syria and your favorite country, right? Somalia,” Trump said. “You love Somalia, right? This guy loves Somalia. Biden will turn Minnesota into a refugee camp.”
Omar Said Trump Was a White Supremacist Who ‘Cannot Accept That a District That Is 2/3 White Can Elect a Somali Refugee’
This white supremacist thinks Somali refugees are worthless, this is why he cannot accept that a district that is 2/3 white can elect a Somali refugee.
Let this sink in: not only are refugees welcome in Minnesota, but 78% of my district sent this refugee to Congress. https://t.co/C80rKCEdP4
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) October 1, 2020
Thursday morning, Omar hit back at Trump, also posting data on her 2016 congressional win showing that she was the top non-incumbent vote getter in the country at the time.
“This white supremacist thinks Somali refugees are worthless,” Omar said. “This is why he cannot accept that a district that is two thirds white can elect a Somali refugee. Let this sink in: Not only are refugees welcome in Minnesota, but 78% of my district sent this refugee to Congress.”
Trump’s xenophobic comments and the “lock her up chant” came as he was still taking flak for failing to clearly denounce white supremacists and the violent far-right group the Proud Boys at Tuesday night’s debate. Many on Twitter took notice.
“For all his vicious verbal attacks on [Omar] and his racist attacks on refugees, Trump should be ashamed to show his face in Minnesota,” Minnesota State Representative Jay Xiong said. “We have always been inclusive and welcoming, and that has been what makes our state so great. I’m a proud child of refugees who pay taxes, unlike him.”
Trump has now made multiple racist attacks on @IlhanMN in front of baying crowds – a black congresswoman who faces daily death threats. He is inciting violence. Can you point me to where @SpeakerPelosi, @SenSchumer or @JoeBiden have stood up for Omar recently? Have I missed it? https://t.co/OEjfkmzIgD
— Mehdi Hasan (@mehdirhasan) October 1, 2020
Medhi Hasan, a journalist with The Intercept and Al Jazeera English, said that congressional Democrats should defend Omar from Trump’s repeated attacks.
“Trump has now made multiple racist attacks on [Omar] in front of baying crowds — a Black congresswoman who faces daily death threats,” Hasan said. “He is inciting violence. Can you point me to where [House Speaker Nancy Pelosi], [Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer] or Biden have stood up for Omar recently? Have I missed it?”