When John Quincy Adams remarked that “There is nothing more pathetic in life than a former president,” he might have been foretelling the year 2021. While some former presidents have gone on to have impressive second acts—97-year-old Jimmy Carter is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning humanitarian who has spent his post-presidency years building houses with Habitat for Humanity and teaching Sunday school—others have gone back to being Donald Trump.
On Tuesday, in what seems like a desperate bid to remain relevant, Trump decided to revisit a favorite pastime: Being a xenophobe. As Newsweek reports, Trump issued a statement in which he repeated a long-held—and vile—Republican conspiracy theory about Somalia-born Congresswoman Ilhan Omar being married to her brother. And by “issued a statement,” we mean: had a spokesperson tweet it out from her own account because he’s been permanently banned from all legitimate social media platforms.
“Congresswoman Ilhan Omar should apologize for marrying her brother, committing large-scale immigration and election fraud, wishing death to Israel, and for essentially abandoning her former country, which doesn’t even have a government—Exactly what she’d like to see for the United States!”
President Donald J. Trump:
"Congresswoman Ilhan Omar should apologize for marrying her brother, committing large-scale immigration and election fraud, wishing death to Israel, and for essentially abandoning her former country, which doesn’t even have a government—Exactly pic.twitter.com/j3cfVmJx5J
— Liz Harrington (@realLizUSA) November 30, 2021
It’s not the first time that Trump—who once talked to Howard Stern about how his daughter Ivanka has “always been voluptuous”— has gone down this road. According to Newsweek, during a 2020 campaign event in Florida, the then-president claimed that Omar “came in here and married her brother or something” and described her birthplace as “a place that doesn’t even have a government.”
Omar, who was born in Somalia, came to the United States as a refugee in 1995, at the age of 12. She became an American citizen in 2000. She was married to Ahmed Nur Said Elmi, a citizen of the United Kingdom, from 2009 to 2017. Republicans have spent years repeating the line that Elmi was actually her brother, and it was reported that the FBI even investigated the matter in 2000. For her part, Omar has called the idea that she married her brother, reportedly to help him gain U.S. citizenship, both “absurd and offensive.” And rightly so.
Trump’s statement came on the heels of MAGA-loving Lauren Boebert’s anti-Muslim outburst on the House floor, in which she referred to the congresswoman as part of the “Jihad Squad,” then went on to suggest that she could be a suicide bomber. Boebert reportedly called Omar, but not to apologize; according to Newsweek, “Omar ended the call by hanging up.”