Republican Senator Rand Paul has said he is willing to help buy Democratic congresswoman Ilhan Omar a ticket to her native Somalia, throwing his weight behind Donald Trump in his row with House Democrats.
Speaking to Breitbart at a Washington, DC youth summit, Paul complained about Omar calling the United States “a terrible place.”
“Well, she came here and we fed her, we clothed her, she got welfare, she got school [education], she got healthcare, and then, lo and behold, she has the honor of actually winning a seat in Congress, and she says we’re a terrible country? I think that’s about as ungrateful as you can get,” he said.
“And so — I’m willing to contribute to buy her a ticket to go visit Somalia,” he added, “and I think she can look and maybe learn a little bit about the disaster that is Somalia — that has no capitalism, has no God-given rights guaranteed in a constitution, and has about seven different tribes that have been fighting each other for the last 40 years.”
The senator suggested that after visiting Somalia, Omar “might come back and appreciate America more.”
Ilhan Omar, 37, was indeed born in Somalia and fled the war-thorn country in the 1990s.
She is part of a four-member group of minority Democratic congresswomen – also including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib and Ayanna Pressley – who have chastised immigrant detention facilities at the Mexico border and, in a broader context, a range of Donald Trump’s conservative policies from immigration to climate change to healthcare.
The incumbent president has lashed out at “the Squad”, saying they should "go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came". Of the quartet of progressives, only Omar was born outside of the US, while the rest of them do have immigrant backgrounds.
Trump was accused of racist rhetoric for what he said - which he denied, saying: "I don't have a racist bone in my body!"
He went on to step up his criticism of the congresswomen at a rally in North Carolina, where the crowd erupted with “send her back” chants at mentions of Omar. He later disavowed the chants, however. "I didn't say that," he said, "they did."
He was still met with condemnation from the House Democrats, who denounced his comments in a resolution, but a handful of Republicans leapt to his defence.
Louisiana Representative Ralph Abraham, who is running for state governor this year, said he was willing to pay for them to leave.