House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., slammed President Trump on Sunday for tweeting a video over the weekend that combined images of the 9/11 terror attacks with remarks by freshman Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn.
Nadler said Trump has “no moral authority” to talk about the deadliest terror attack on U.S. soil and called out Trump for reportedly taking a $150,000 government grant offered to small business owners in lower Manhattan following the 9/11 attacks.
“He wasn’t president then, but Donald Trump actually took a $150,000 grant from the Bush administration,” Nadler said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “He stole $150,000 from some small businessperson who could’ve used it to help rehabilitate himself.”
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The building Nadler is referring to is 40 Wall Street, also called The Trump Building. Some critics of the president have brought up a clip of Trump being interviewed on a local New Jersey news station on the morning of the attack, where the then-real estate mogul pointed out that with the collapse of the twin towers, 40 Wall Street is now the tallest building in lower Manhattan.
The controversy surrounding Trump and Omar began when the president tweeted the video of the burning World Trade Center towers and Omar speaking last month at the Council on American-Islamic Relations, where she said the organization was founded because “some people did something” and Muslims “were starting to lose access to our civil liberties.”
“For far too long we have lived with the discomfort of being a second-class citizen and, frankly, I’m tired of it, and every single Muslim in this country should be tired of it,” she said in the March 23 speech, according to video posted online. “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.”
CAIR was founded in 1994, according to its website, but its membership skyrocketed after the attacks.
Omar repeatedly has pushed fellow Democrats into uncomfortable territory over Israel with comments related to her assessment of the Jewish state’s influence in Washington. She apologized for suggesting that lawmakers support Israel for pay and said she isn’t criticizing Jews. But she refused to take back a tweet in which she suggested American supporters of Israel “pledge allegiance” to a foreign country.
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Her comments sparked an ugly episode among House Democrats after they responded with a resolution condemning anti-Semitism and the measure became a broader declaration against all forms of bigotry.
Omar has not backed down from her comments. She tweeted a quote from President George W. Bush, who said days after the attacks: “The people — and the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon!”
“Was Bush downplaying the terrorist attack?” Omar tweeted. “What if he was a Muslim.”
Several top Democrats – and a number of 2020 presidential hopefuls – have rushed to publicly defend Omar.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi scolded Trump for using the “painful images of 9/11 for a political attack” against the first-term Minnesota Democrat.
And presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren, campaigning in New Hampshire, accused Trump of “trying to incite violence and to divide us, and every political leader should speak out against that.”
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Warren, a Massachusetts senator, said Republican leaders in Congress “cannot take a pass on this, cannot look the other way and pretend it isn’t happening. It is happening. And those who don’t speak out in the Republican leadership are complicit in what he is doing. It’s wrong.”
Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar noted that a New York man recently was charged with threatening Omar’s life.
“The video the president chose to send out today will only incite more hate,” Klobuchar said. “You can disagree with her words — as I have done before — but this video is wrong. Enough.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.