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A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Trump Retweets False Attack on Rep. Omar

President Donald Trump retweeted a post by comedian Terrence K. Williams that wrongly purports to show Rep. Ilhan Omar “partying” and “celebrating” on the anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The video was actually from a Congressional Black Caucus event on Sept. 13.

The video posted by Williams, an actor, comedian and conservative commentator, shows Omar laughing and dancing in a crowd to the song “Truth Hurts” by Lizzo.

Williams claimed in his post that the video shows Omar “celebrating” and “partying” on the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people in three locations: the World Trade Center in New York City, the Pentagon in Virginia and a plane crash site in Pennsylvania. Williams said it shows Omar is not on “our side.”

Trump retweeted the post, along with his own commentary that Omar will “win us the Great State of Minnesota,” calling her “The new face of the Democrat Party!”

Williams’ original tweet has since been removed; an archived version is here. It had been viewed more than 650,000 times.

But Omar’s office told us the event was not on Sept. 11, as Williams claimed. According to Omar’s spokesman, the video was shot at an event called “Breaking Concrete Ceilings” and hosted by freshmen Congressional Black Caucus women on Sept. 13. Here’s a flyer for the event.

The video of Omar dancing was originally posted by Adam Green, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee. A tweet from BoldProgressives.org confirmed the video was posted by Green from a CBC event on Sept. 13, and called Trump’s tweet “an abhorrent lie.”

Two hours after Trump posted his tweet, Omar responded with one of her own, saying the video was “from a CBC event we hosted this weekend to celebrate black women in Congress” and commenting, “The President of the United States is continuing to spread lies that put my life at risk.”

Trump is apparently a fan of Williams’ Twitter feed, which often includes pro-Trump messages. The false attack on Omar was one of three tweets that Trump posted on Wednesday morning that either quoted or retweeted Williams.

In the post about Omar, Williams shows the video of the congresswoman dancing, and then says, “I need to talk to Omar. Girl, what in the world were you celebrating on the anniversary of 9/11? You were seriously partying on the anniversary of 9/11? Turning up, while millions of Americans were at home mourning all the lives that were lost. Over 3,000 people died, and you were out turning up, a congresswoman, partying on the anniversary of 9/11. Are you serious? What were you celebrating? That’s what I want to know. … We already know why you were celebrating. Yeah, because you believe that some people ‘did something’ on 9/11. Yeah, you said that. So we know whose side you on, and it’s not our side.”

Williams also parroted Trump’s tweets on July 14, when the president told Omar and three other progressive Democratic congresswomen known as “the squad” to “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.”

In his post, Williams said, “If you are not for America, if you don’t like America, you do know that you can always go back home. You do know that you can always get on Delta, American or Southwest and fly your butt back to where you came from.”

Omar’s family fled her native Somalia when she was 8 years old and sought refuge in Kenya before resettling in the U.S. in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 1997, according to the Washington Post. She is an American citizen, and became one of the first two Muslim women elected to Congress in 2018.

Omar has been criticized by some — including Williams in his tweet — for comments she made during a 20-minute speech at an annual Council on American-Islamic Relations event in California on March 23. She said that “CAIR was founded after 9/11 because they recognized that some people did something and that all of us were starting to lose access to our civil liberties.”  We wrote about her fuller comments in our story “Rep. Ilhan Omar’s 9/11 Comments in Context.”

On Sept. 11, she tweeted that the 9/11 attack “was an attack on all of us.”