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Trump Rally Crowd Chants “Send Her Back” After Comments About Rep. Ilhan Omar

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  • Attendees at a campaign rally for President Donald Trump started chanting “send her back” as Trump talked about Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN). 
  • This prompted numerous responses, including ones from conservative commentators who condemned the chant. 
  • During Trump’s speech, he also made numerous false claims about Omar and took several of her past statements out of context.
  • While speaking to reporters Thursday, Trump was asked why he did not stop the chants. “I think I did—I started speaking very quickly,” the president said. “I was not happy with it—I disagree with it.”

Pundits Respond to Trump Campaign Rally

Several prominent conservative commentators have spoken out against the “send her back” chant that broke out at the Greenville, North Carolina campaign rally for President Donald Trump, following remarks the president made about Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN).

Well-known conservative commentator Ben Shapiro condemned the chants in a tweet, writing that while he disliked Omar and believed she was an anti-Semite, “She is also an American citizen and chanting for her deportation based on her exercise of the First Amendment is disgusting.”

“Omar is a citizen and was elected to congress,” YouTube commentator Tim Pool said on Twitter. “You have a problem? Then vote her out. ‘Send her back’ is disgusting.”

Fox News contributor and conservative talk radio host Guy Benson also chimed in, saying “‘Send her back’ is an appalling chant. Omar is a US citizen.”

Omar herself responded on Twitter, writing, “I am where I belong, at the people’s house and you’re just gonna have to deal!”

Omar also addressed the chants while speaking to reporters in the Capitol on Thursday.

“And as much as he is spewing his fascist ideology on stage, telling U.S. citizens to go back because they do not agree with his detrimental policies for our country, we tell people that here in the United States, dissent is patriotic,” she said. 

While speaking to reporters Thursday, Trump was asked why he did not stop the chants. “I think I did—I started speaking very quickly,” the president said. “I was not happy with it—I disagree with it.”

Fact-Checking Trump’s Claims

The rally comes towards the end of a highly polarized week where Trump’s tweets aimed at the four congresswomen, known as The Squad, and the subsequent debate about whether the president’s remarks are racist have dominated the news cycle.

Trump has continually and fervently defended his remarks, arguing that they were not racist. He has repeatedly said that The Squad hates America and that they should be condemned for their past remarks, not him.

Despite receiving backlash from both Democrats and Republicans, Trump has remained steadfast and continued to lash out at Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, and Ayanna Pressley to return to the countries they are from if they are unhappy in the U.S., despite the fact that all three women were born in America.

However, throughout this whole ordeal, Trump has specifically targeted Omar, a war refugee from Somalia who has lived in the U.S. almost all of her life and has been a U.S. citizen for nearly 20 years.

Trump reiterated many of his old talking points to attack Omar during the rally Wednesday night. Let’s take a took at his most significant claims.

Omar’s Statements on 9/11

Trump started out his blitz against Omar by reciting a frequently used criticized statement she made about the September 11 attacks.

“Omar minimized the September 11 attacks on our homeland, saying  ‘some people did something.’ I don’t think so,” Trump said.

That claim, however, is out of context. Omar’s original statement comes from a speech she made at Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).

In that speech, Omar said that the Muslim extremists who perpetrated the 9/11 attacks are not representative of the entire Muslim population and that all Muslims should not be treated poorly because of the actions of a few.

“It doesn’t matter how good you are, if you one day find yourself in a school where other religions are talked about, but when Islam is mentioned we are only talking about terrorists, and if you say something you are sent to the principle’s office,” Omar said.

“So to me I say, raise hell! Make people feel uncomfortable, because here’s the truth, here’s the truth: far too long we have lived with the discomfort of being a second class citizen,” she continued.

“And frankly I’m tired of it and every single Muslim in this country should be tired of it. CAIR was founded after 9/11, because they recognize that some people did something and that all of us were starting to lose access to our civil liberties,” she added.

It’s worth noting that CAIR was actually founded in 1994, and not after 9/11, but that fact still does not change the full context of the quote. 

Omar’s Statements on ISIS

Later in his speech, Trump said: “She [Omar] pleaded for compassion for ISIS recruits attempting to join the terrorist organization.”

That claim appears to refer to a letter she wrote on November 8, 2016, to a judge overseeing a case in which nine Somali-Americans were found guilty of attempting to join ISIS.

Omar was just one of many who wrote to the judge, seemingly on the defendant’s behalfs, recommending a lighter sentence than the 30-years the prosecution was recommending.

Omar’s letter did not mention the accused by name, but seems to be recommending that in general, judges should consider lighter sentences for young people attempting to join an extremist group.

She did not say this because she supports ISIS, nor anyone joining ISIS, but because she believes a “compassionate” and restorative justice approach is a better way to combat extremism.

She also argued that a 30-plus year sentence for a 20-year-old man is essentially a life sentence, and feeds narratives that extremists use to recruit.

“Such punitive measures not only lack efficacy, they inevitably create an environment in which extremism can flourish, aligning with the presupposition of terrorist recruitment: ‘Americans do not accept you and continue to trivialize your value. Instead of being a nobody, be a martyr,’” she wrote.

Al-Qaeda

Some of the most controversial comments of the night were Trump’s comments about Omar and Al-Qaeda.

“Omar laughed that Americans speak of al-Qaeda in a menacing tone and remarked that you don’t say ‘America’ with this intensity,” he said. “You say ‘al-Qaeda’ makes you proud. Al-Qaeda makes you proud!” 

What he is referring to here is a 2013 interview Omar had on a local PBS show in Minneapolis while she was working as an activist.

In that interview, she talked about how Islamic terrorist groups seem frightening to Americans because the words seem foreign, even though they usually come from everyday Arabic words.

She says she took a class about terrorism in college and goes on to say, “The thing that was interesting in the class was every time the professor said ‘al-Qaeda,’ he sort of like — his shoulders went up ‘Al-Qaeda,’ ‘Hezbollah.’” 

“But it is that, you don’t say ‘America’ with an intensity, you don’t say ‘England’ with the intensity. You know, you don’t say ‘the Army’ with an intensity,” she continued. “But you say these names [of terrorist groups] because you want that word to carry weight, you want it to leave something.” 

Nowhere in that interview does Omar say she is proud of Al-Qaeda, or that she supports them. In fact, she describes Al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups linked to them as “evil” and said they were “taking part in terror” around the world.

Trump also went on to make another comment about Omar and Al-Qaeda.

“And at a press conference just this week, when asked whether she supported al-Qaeda,” he said. “She refused to answer. She didn’t want to give an answer to that question.” 

That comes from the press conference The Squad held earlier this week to formally respond to Trump’s tweets. When a reporter asked Omar what her response was to Trump’s claim that she supports Al-Qaeda, she responded, “I will not dignify it with an answer.”

“I do not expect every time there is a white supremacist who attacks or there is a white man who kills in a school or in a movie theater, or in a mosque, or in a synagogue, I don’t expect my white community members to respond on whether they love that person or not,” she added.

Accusations of Anti-Semitism

The final claim that Trump made about Omar, which promoted the crowd to start chanting, was about the allegations of anti-Semitism. 

“And obviously, and importantly, Omar has a history of launching vicious anti-Semitic screeds,” he said. That statement refers to a few things.

In February, both parties criticized Omar after she posted a tweet suggesting that pro-Israel groups buy off politicians. In the since-deleted tweet, Omar wrote: “It’s all about the Benjamins baby.”

Twitter @IlhanMN

That tweet got a lot of backlash from people who called the post offensive for using what many took as an anti-Semitic trope. Omar later apologized for the tweet.

“Anti-Semitism is real and I am grateful for Jewish allies and colleagues who are educating me on the painful history of anti-Semitic tropes,” she wrote.

“We have to always be willing to step back and think through criticism, just as I expect people to hear me when others attack me for my identity,” she continued. “This is why I unequivocally apologize.”

Twitter: @IlhanMN

The second instance occurred when Omar responded to another member of Congress who criticized her stance on pro-Israel lawmakers, writing, “I should not be expected to have allegiance/pledge support to a foreign country in order to serve my country in Congress or serve on committee.”

Some took that as offensive because they felt that Omar suggested that pro-Israel lawmakers have dual loyalties to Israel and the U.S.

Trump also attacked Omar for her statements, but then a month later, he made a very similar statement. Speaking in front of the Republican Jewish Coalition Trump referred to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as “your prime minister” to a group of Jewish Americans.

See what others are saying: (PolitiFact) (The Washington Post) (Fox News)

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Judges Uphold North Carolina’s Congressional Map in Major GOP Win

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The judges agreed that the congressional map was “a result of intentional, pro-Republican partisan redistricting” but said they did not have the power to intervene in legislative matters.


New Maps Upheld

A three-judge panel in North Carolina upheld the state’s new congressional and legislative maps on Tuesday, deciding it did not have the power to respond to arguments that Republicans had illegally gerrymandered it to benefit them.

Voting rights groups and Democrats sued over the new maps, which were drawn by the state’s Republican legislature following the 2020 census.

The maps left Democrats with just three of North Carolina’s 14 congressional seats in a battleground state that is more evenly split between Republicans and Democrats. Previously, Democrats held five of the 13 districts the state had before the last census, during which North Carolina was allocated an additional seat.

The challengers argued that the blatantly partisan maps had been drawn in a way that went against longstanding rules, violated the state’s Constitution, and intentionally disenfranchised Black voters.

In their unanimous ruling, the panel — composed of one Democrat and two Republicans — agreed that both the legislative and congressional maps were “a result of intentional, pro-Republican partisan redistricting.”

The judges added that they had “disdain for having to deal with issues that potentially lead to results incompatible with democratic principles and subject our state to ridicule.”

Despite their beliefs, the panel said they did not have a legal basis for intervening in political matters and constraining the legislature. They additionally ruled that the challengers did not prove their claims that the maps were discriminatory based on race.

Notably, the judges also stated that partisan gerrymandering does not actually violate the state’s Constitution. 

The Path Ahead

While the decision marks a setback to the plaintiffs, the groups have already said they will appeal the decision to the North Carolina Supreme Court.

The state’s highest court has a slim Democratic majority and has already signaled they may be open to tossing the map.

There are also past precedents for voting maps to be thrown out in North Carolina. The state has an extensive history of legal battles over gerrymandering, and Republican leaders have been forced to redraw maps twice in recent years.

A forthcoming decision is highly anticipated, as North Carolina’s congressional map could play a major role in the control of the House in the 2022 midterm elections if they are as close as expected. 

See what others are saying: (Politico) (The New York Times) (The Wall Street Journal)

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Biden Administration Says Private Insurers Will Have to Cover 8 At-Home Tests a Month

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The policy will apply to all the nearly 150 million Americans who have private insurance.


New At-Home Testing Policy

The Biden administration announced Monday that private health insurers will now be required to pay for up to eight at-home rapid tests per plan member each month.

Under the new policy, starting Saturday, private insurance holders will be able to purchase any at-home test approved by the FDA at a pharmacy or online. They will either not be asked to pay any upfront costs or be reimbursed for their purchase through their provider.

The move is expected to significantly expand access to rapid tests that other countries have been distributing to their citizens free of charge for months. 

According to reports, nearly 150 million Americans — about 45% of the population — have private insurance. 

Each dependent enrolled on the primary insurance holder’s account is counted as a member. That means a family of four enrolled on a single plan would be eligible for 32 free at-home rapid tests a month.

Potential Exemptions

All tests may not be fully covered depending on where they are purchased. 

In order to help offset costs, the Biden administration is incentivizing insurance providers to establish a network of “preferred” pharmacies and stores where people in the plan can get tests without paying out of pocket.

As a result, health plans that do create those networks will only be required to reimburse up to $12 per test if they are purchased out of that network, meaning people could be on the hook for the rest of the cost.

If an insurer does not set up a preferred network, they will have to cover all at-home tests in full regardless of the place of purchase.

During a briefing Monday, Press Secretary Jen Psaki said tests should be “out the door in the coming weeks.”

“The contracts [for testing companies] are structured in a way to require that significant amounts are delivered on an aggressive timeline, the first of which should be arriving early next week,” she added.

See what others are saying: (The New York Times) (NPR) (The Washington Post)

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Biden Administration Unveils Plan To Replace All Lead Pipes

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The effort builds on the $15 billion allocated under the bipartisan infrastructure bill for lead pipe replacement, but industry leaders say $60 billion will be needed for nationwide revitalization.


White House Outlines Actions on Lead Pipes and Paint

The Biden administration rolled out a sweeping plan on Thursday to remove all the nation’s lead pipes over the next decade and take other steps to prevent lead paint contamination.

Lead, which was commonly used in piping for municipal water systems all over the country until it was banned in 1978, is a dangerous neurotoxin that can cause serious nervous system damage, especially in children.

Contamination from lead pipes seeping into water supplies has caused multiple high-profile public health and environmental catastrophes over the last decade, including the notorious crisis in Flint, Michigan.

According to a White House factsheet, an estimated 10 million households are connected to water through lead pipes. Children and teenagers in 400,000 schools and child care facilities also risk exposure to lead-contaminated water.

“Because of inequitable infrastructure development and disinvestment, low-income communities and communities of color are disproportionately exposed to these risks,” the factsheet stated.

To address those disparities and revitalize water systems across the nation, the White House outlined 15 new action items the Biden administration is taking, including:

  • Launching “a new regulatory process to protect communities from lead in drinking water” through the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
  • Clarifying that state, local, and Tribal governments can use the $350 billion aid allocated under the American Rescue Plan to replace lead service lines.
  • Establishing federally-operated regional technical assistance hubs “to fast track lead service line removal projects in partnership with labor unions and local water agencies.”
  • Awarding federal grants through the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to remove lead paint in low-income communities.
  • Directing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to expand childhood lead testing.
  • Establishing “a new Cabinet Level Partnership for Lead Remediation in Schools and Child Care Centers.”

The White House also said it will direct the EPA to allocate $3 billion for state, local, and Tribal governments to replace lead pipes through funding that was approved under the bipartisan infrastructure bill signed by President Joe Biden last month.

A Matter of Funding

In total, Congress provided $15 billion to revitalize the nation’s lead-pipe systems under the infrastructure bill. 

However, industry experts have estimated that it will cost $60 billion to entirely overhaul all the remaining lead pipes in the U.S.

As a result, the Biden administration has proposed several additional funding mechanisms in the social safety net package, known as the Build Back Better Act, that is currently being negotiated by Congress.

Specifically, the legislation would set aside $9 billion for lead remediation grants to disadvantaged communities, $1 billion for rural water utilities to remove lead pipes, and $5 billion for mitigation efforts such as removing lead-based water fixtures in low-income households.

The Build Back Better Act would additionally provide $65 billion for public housing agencies and $5 billion for other federally-assisted housing organizations to improve housing quality, including by replacing lead pipes and service lines.

The status of that legislation, as well as what provisions will remain in the final version, remain in limbo. While Democratic leadership has pushed to pass the sweeping social bill before the new year, all 50 of the party’s members in the Senate will need to sign on, and moderate Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) has continued to withhold his support.

See what others are saying: (The New York Times) (Axios) (The Washington Post)

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