Not so long ago, if the President of the United States did something that he knew or should have known would place a member of Congress’ life in jeopardy, it would be a big deal. Donald Trump did exactly that this week with a retweet that put Rep. Ilhan Omar’s life at risk. Unfortunately, between the whistleblower scandal overtaking the news cycle and the fact that Trump actually did something similar in April, it looks like Trump will skate through yet another dangerous stunt with impunity.
On Wednesday, Trump retweeted a post by conservative comedian Terrence K. Williams that included a video of Omar dancing. We need only remember how a video of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez that surfaced just before she was sworn into Congress early this year was aimed at making us think that dancing in itself can apparently be a crime. Williams’ tweet went quite a bit further, however, Williams made the accusation that “Ilhan Omar parties on the anniversary of 9/11” and, in a split screen, he asked, “Girl, what in the world were you celebrating on the anniversary of 9/11?” The video did not show Omar celebrating anything on the anniversary of 9/11 but was a closeup of a large room full of people dancing at the Congressional Black Caucus’ annual legislative conference on September 13.
The tweet, which prompted House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to ask the Capitol Police to conduct a security assessment to ensure Omar’s safety, was ultimately taken down. However, Trump’s retweet, in which he added the words “IIhan Omar, a member of AOC Plus 3, will win us the Great State of Minnesota. The new face of the Democrat Party!” remains as a testament to Trump’s bigotry and deceit.
Trump knows exactly what he’s doing when he retweets provably false—and dangerous—craziness against people whom he considers to be his enemies. Trump loves retweets because he knows he can feign ignorance of the underlying tweet and get away with it. Trump essentially admitted this in a January 2018 interview on ITV with Piers Morgan: “When you do your own tweeting or you do your own social media, it’s fine. When you do those retweets, they can cause problems, because you never know who’s doing it to start off with.” Of course, there’s nothing stopping Trump from doing some vetting before retweeting anything — nothing, of course, other than a sick and evil mind.