Congress

Rep. Ilhan Omar calls Fox News host Tucker Carlson a ‘racist fool’

Carlson made the Minnesota lawmaker the target of an anti-immigrant diatribe

Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., an outspoken progressive first-term lawmaker, has been a frequent target of Fox News. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Ilhan Omar dismissed Fox News’ Tucker Carlson as a “racist fool” after the TV personality made her the target of an anti-immigrant diatribe.

“Not gonna lie, it’s kinda fun watching a racist fool like this weeping about my presence in Congress,” the Minnesota Democrat tweeted Tuesday night.

“No lies will stamp out my love for this country or my resolve to make our union more perfect. They will just have to get used to calling me Congresswoman!” she added. 

Omar, an outspoken first-term progressive, has become a frequent target of Fox News. She made history last year as one of the first Muslim women elected to the House and the first sitting member of Congress to wear a hijab.

In remarks on his nightly show, “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” Carlson accused Omar of “undisguised contempt for the United States and for its people,” implying that Omar is not an American.

The subject of Carlson’s monologue was a profile of the Minnesota congresswoman in The Washington Post. The story describes Omar’s arrival to the United States as a refugee from Somalia. Her family struggled in poverty and she experienced bullying from her classmates, she told the paper.

“I arrived at the age of 12 and learned that I was the extreme other,” Omar said in an interview with the Post. “I was black. I was Muslim. I also learned I was extremely poor and that the classless America that my father talked about didn’t exist.”

Carlson expressed offense at Omar’s statements in the story in order to make the argument that she “isn’t grateful” for opportunities in the United States, and in a monologue implied immigrants who express criticism of the U.S. are not a worthy of entry.

He described Omar as both “dangerous” and as having values “antithetical to ours,” two common Islamophobic tropes, according to Georgetown University’s The Bridge Initiative. 

Ilhan Omar is living proof that the way we practice immigration has become dangerous to this country,” Carlson said. “Some of the very people we try hardest to help have come to hate us passionately,” he continued, which CNN media commentator Brian Stelter described as an “extraordinary leap” from Omar’s comments to the Post. 

Carlson asked  if “maybe we are importing people from places who are simply antithetical to ours” and called Omar “a living fire alarm — a warning to the rest of us that we better change our immigration system immediately. Or else."

Xenophobic rhetoric is a common theme on “Tucker Carlson Tonight.” Carlson saw some advertisers sever business with his show last year after he said that immigrants make the country “poorer and dirtier” while displaying images of trash. The progressive-leaning Media Matters has criticized Carlson in the past for monologues that resemble white nationalist talking points.

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