INDEPENDENT . October 1, 2020, 1:17 PM
Donald Trump supporters on Wednesday night chanted “lock her up” as the president launched a fresh attack on congresswoman Ilhan Omar at a campaign rally in Minnesota.
During his re-election campaign, the president has repeatedly used Ms Omar, who is of Somalian heritage, as a lightning rod to rile up his base ahead of November’s election.
Mr Trump, 74, has also claimed that his Democratic challenger Joe Biden, 77, plans to turn the state – which has a large Somali population – into a “refugee camp” if he wins the race for the White House.
“Another massive issue for Minnesota is the election of Joe Biden’s plan to inundate your state with a historic flood of refugees,” Mr Trump told supporters at Duluth International Airport. “Congratulations, Minnesota. Congratulations…”
Turning his focus to Ms Omar, who represents Minnesota’s 5th congressional district, the president said: “What is going on with Omar? I’ve been reading these reports for two years about how corrupt and crooked she is. Let’s get with it. Let’s get with it,” he added to chants of “lock her up”.
The president has repeatedly cited false claims that Ms Omar, 37, has been actively involved in a ballot harvesting scheme in the city of Minneapolis.
Ever since Ms Omar was elected to office in 2019, she has been a repeated target of dog whistle racism by the president, who last week suggested the lawmaker was not a true US citizen because of her roots.
Addressing thousands of tightly packed together supporters at a separate campaign rally in Pittsburhg last month, Mr Trump told Ms Omar: “How is your country doing?”
The president been responding to Ms Omar’s critical comments about his handling of the coronavirus, which has claimed some 207,000 US lives. He suggested Ms Omar had been been telling American’s “how to run our country”.
“Firstly, this is my country & I am a member of the House that impeached you,” Ms Omar repsponded on Twitter. “Secondly, I fled civil war when I was 8. An 8-year-old doesn’t run a country even though you run our country like one.”
Shortly after Wednesday night’s rally, the Trump administration proposed further slashing the number of refugees the United States accepts to a new record low in the coming year.
In a notice sent to Congress, the administration said it intended to admit a maximum of 15,000 refugees in fiscal year 2021. That’s 3,000 fewer than the 18,000 ceiling the administration had set for fiscal year 2020, which expired at midnight Wednesday.
The proposal will now be reviewed by Congress, where there are strong objections to the cuts, but lawmakers will be largely powerless to force changes.