On Friday, a poster showing a photograph of the World Trade Center under attack on 9/11 above a photograph of Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) was on display at a booth sponsored by the West Virginia GOP.
According to NBC News, the state Republican party allegedly set up the display, which quite frankly, sounds like an odd thing for them to have done. They reported that the display was set up as part of “WV GOP Day,” which the party advertised on Facebook as a day when “Republicans Take the Rotunda.”
— (((Mike Pushkin))) (@pushkinforhouse) March 1, 2019
Reaction to the poster was exactly as one would expect. Tempers were running high. The local newspaper reported that one delegate “kicked open a door, injuring a doorkeeper. And the House Sergeant-at-arms resigned, after another delegate accused her of saying “all Muslims are terrorists.”
Del. Mike Pushkin (D) spoke to reporters on the House floor. He said:
It’s ugly, it’s hateful and there’s absolutely no place for it in American politics. Not in the country that I love. Not in the state that I love. We all give up our time during this time of year to come up here and serve our constituents because we love this state. Well, I love everybody in the state no matter what they look like, who they pray to, who they love. I’m tired of it. It disgusts me.
I’m proud to live in a country that somebody can come into this country with absolutely nothing and wind up in the halls of Congress representing the state of Minnesota.
As we began today’s floor session, we had a series of incidents occur in and outside of our Chamber that absolutely do not reflect the character and civility the people of this state demand of their public servants. Leadership of the House of Delegates is currently working to investigate these incidents to learn firsthand the factual basis of what occurred, and will respond with appropriate action.
The West Virginia House of Delegates unequivocally rejects hate in all of its forms.
In separate remarks, Hanshaw said, “I bluntly struggle with what even to say. We have allowed national level politics to become a cancer on our state . . to invade our chamber in a way that makes me ashamed. We can do better.”
The local newspaper, The Register-Herald, provided some background to the story. The paper reported that in the last two years, several bills targeting refugees from Muslim countries have been introduced. Though none have passed, one Republican lawmaker has “placed them on the House Homeland Security and Veterans Affairs agenda and another Republican proposed banning all refugees from West Virginia.” In addition, local religious leaders have become involved in the controversy.
Rep. Ilhan Omar responded to the incident with a tweet.
No wonder why I am on the “Hitlist” of a domestic terrorist and “Assassinate Ilhan Omar” is written on my local gas stations.
Look no further, the GOP's anti-Muslim display likening me to a terrorist rocks in state capitols and no one is condemning them! https://t.co/0ouCaloWqh
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) March 1, 2019