Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) faced backlash and calls for her removal from Congress following her remarks at an event in Minnesota. Speaking to a group of Somalis, Omar expressed her advocacy for Somalia, her country of birth and early upbringing, while serving in the U.S. Congress. The comments came amid recent tensions between Ethiopia and Somalia over Somaliland, particularly concerning a disputed agreement involving Ethiopia’s access to Somaliland’s coastline.
A three-minute video clip of Omar’s speech, translated by officials from Somaliland and obtained by the Daily Wire from an international translation service, showed Omar discussing the Ethiopia-Somaliland agreement and emphasizing her influence on U.S. policy regarding the issue. She assured attendees that as long as she is in Congress, no one will exploit Somali waters, and that she would oppose U.S. government support for any actions against Somali interests.
Omar’s remarks, made at an event celebrating Said Abdullahi Deni’s re-election as President of the Puntland State of Somalia, were seen as prioritizing Somalia’s interests over her congressional duties. This perception was heightened by her comments thanking Somali President Hassan Sheikh and expressing solidarity with the Somali community in Minnesota.
I got calls from a lot of people saying, “Ilhan, you need to talk to the U.S. government; what is the government of the U.S. doing?’”My answer to their question was that the U.S. government will do what we tell them to do about it. We need to be confident in ourselves. We live in this country; it is the country that we pay tax to, and it is the country that one of your daughters is in. As long as I am in the U.S. Congress, no one will take a way in the Somali sea or water. And I will not support the U.S. government in supporting other people to rob us. Rest assured that it will not happen, Minnesota. The lady that you sent to Congress knows about you, and she feels your interest like you all do.
“I want to congratulate the Somalis in Minnesota and the Somalis everywhere on how you all are united and how you all supported our President, who needs our support,” she added, according to the translation. “Somalia is Somalia, and Somalis are all one; we are all brothers and sisters. No one can divide our land; we are missing land, and we will search for it soon. No one will divide whatever land that we have now.”
She stated that her interest was in making sure that “Somalia will never be in danger” and promised to work “day and night to protect your interest.”
The congresswoman’s statements prompted a strong reaction from several top Republican politicians and conservative figures. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis called for her expulsion from Congress, denaturalization, and deportation. He said: “Expel from Congress, denaturalize and deport!”
Donald Trump Jr., House Majority Whip Tom Emmer (R-MN), Rep. Mike Collins (R-GA), Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), and Rep. Diana Harshbarger (R-TN) were among those who criticized Omar, with some suggesting she focus her efforts in Somalia or questioning her allegiance to the U.S.
“Ilhan Omar’s appalling, Somalia-first comments are a slap in the face to the Minnesotans she was elected to serve and a direct violation of her oath of office. She should resign in disgrace,” said Emmer.
In response to the controversy, Omar addressed the viral translation on her X account, dismissing it as slanted and off-base. However, the translation verified by INGCO International conveyed a similar message, emphasizing Omar’s commitment to protecting Somalia’s interests.