Donald Trump’s intimidation of Rep. Ilhan Omar will not be met with silence. That’s the message Black women leaders sent on Tuesday when they descended on Washington D.C. to demand that the Democratic Party do more to protect the newly elected policymaker and other progressive women in Congress.
The event, dubbed “Black Women in Defense of Ilhan Omar,” brought together 100 invited supporters including activist Angela Davis, Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), and Black Lives Matter co-founders Alicia Garza and Patrisse Cullors. Their mission: demand that Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer formally disapprove of Donald Trump’s treatment of Rep. Omar and the incitement of violence against the Congresswoman.
On April 12, Trump tweeted a video in which Omar is depicted discussing the 9/11 attacks. The clip takes Omar’s comments out of context while also splicing in imagery of the Twin Towers burning. Since tweeting out the video, the congresswoman says she has experienced an uptick in threats against her life, as well as members of her family.
Thenjiwe McHarris, a political and foreign relations strategist with the Movement for Black Lives, the organization responsible for coordinating the demonstration, said in a statement, “We believe the Democratic Party must take courageous, bold action to protect the life, progressive voice, and agenda of Ilhan Omar and other progressive women in Congress.” She continued, “In a moment where the White House chooses to cause harm through executive action or hateful messages, we need unapologetic, unwavering support for Congresswoman Omar throughout the Democratic Party.”
Although Pelosi and other Democratic leaders have vocalized their disapproval of Trump’s tweets, they have stopped short of taking formal action. That’s even with cybersecurity expert Chad Loder identifying hundreds of tweets, according to the Washington Post, that encouraged violence toward the Minnesota policymaker in reaction to President Trump’s tweet.
Twitter’s CEO and co-founder Jack Dorsey also determined that Trump’s tweet did not violate company rules.
Even so, the congresswoman herself is speaking out against what she calls are “vile attacks.” Tuesday, on the steps of the capital, the first Somali-American to be elected to the House of Representatives said, “When this occupant of the White House chooses to attack me, we know — we know — that that attack isn’t for Ilhan. That attack is the continuation of the attacks that he has leveled against women, against people of color, against immigrants, against refugees and certainly against Muslims.”
Omar declared, “This is not going to be the country of the white people. This is not going to be the country of the few. This is going to be the country of the many.”