April 14, 2019 10:38 PM
The White House says President Donald Trump isn't trying to incite violence against Rep. Ilhan Omar, but rather is highlighting what critics of the Minnesota Democrat say is her history of anti-Semitic and other comments.
Press secretary Sarah Sanders adds Sunday that Trump wishes no "ill will" toward the freshman lawmaker.
Leading Democrats accused Trump of trying to incite violence against Omar, who is Muslim, by retweeting a video on Friday that was edited to imply that Omar was being dismissive of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The tweet currently leads Trump's Twitter feed and has been viewed more than 9 million times.
Sanders says Trump is "absolutely and should be calling out" Omar and that Democrats should, too.
Sanders commented on "Fox News Sunday" and ABC's "This Week."
Omar on Sunday issued the following statement on the increase in death threats against her in the wake of the President's tweet:
"Since the President's tweet Friday evening, I have experienced an increase in direct threats on my life—many directly referencing or replying to the President's video. I thank the Capitol Police, the FBI, the House Sergeant at Arms, and the Speaker of the House for their attention to these threats.
"Violent crimes and other acts of hate by right-wing extremists and white nationalists are on the rise in this country and around the world. We can no longer ignore that they are being encouraged by the occupant of the highest office in the land. Counties that hosted a 2016 Trump rally saw a 226 percent increase in hate crimes in the months following the rally. And assaults increase when cities host Trump rallies. This is particularly concerning given the president's visit to my home state of Minnesota on Monday.
"Violent rhetoric and all forms of hate speech have no place in our society, much less from our country's Commander in Chief.
"We are all Americans. This is endangering lives. It has to stop."
Updated: April 14, 2019 10:38 PM
Created: April 14, 2019 11:02 AM
(Copyright 2019 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)