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Omar deletes tweet on Covington students, Trump

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) deleted a tweet on Wednesday that had pushed back against President Trump’s defense of the mostly white students of a Kentucky high school engaged in a confrontation with Native American advocate and tribal elder Nathan Phillips. In her tweet, Omar wrote that the male students were “protesting a woman’s right to choose & yelled ‘it’s not rape if you enjoy it'” and “taunting 5 Black men before they surrounded Phillips and led racist chants.” The students from Covington Catholic High School were in Washington, D.C., to take part in the annual March for Life. A spokesman for Omar didn’t immediately return a request for comment to explain why the tweet was removed. Omar represents a Minneapolis-area district that is considered solidly Democratic. But the National Republican Congressional Committee pounced on Omar’s tweet and accused her of spreading misinformation. Omar’s tweet had linked to a Rewire article which highlighted a video showing one young man saying “it’s not rape if you enjoy it.” But it’s not clear if the person in the video is a Covington student. Omar’s assertion that the students were “taunting 5 Black men” is also in dispute. Videos showed members of the Black Hebrew Israelites shouting homophobic and racist slurs at the boys. Black Hebrew Israelites believe they are the descendants of the ancient Israelites. Some groups affiliated with the movement have been described as hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center, something GOP critics of Omar pounced upon. “Rep. Omar is an embarrassment to Minnesota, and it’s time for the rest of the Minnesota delegation to denounce her anti-Semitic views and support of hate groups,” NRCC spokeswoman Carly Atchison said in a statement. The Covington students have denied that they were mocking Phillips.  When asked on NBC’s “Today” show in an interview that aired Wednesday if he felt a needed to apologize for his actions, Sandmann said: “As far as standing there, I had every right to do so. My position is that I was not disrespectful to Mr. Phillips. I respect him. I’d like to talk to him. I mean, in hindsight, I wish we could’ve walked away and avoided the whole thing, but I can’t say that I’m sorry for listening to him and standing there.” The Trump tweet that Omar responded to on Tuesday said that “Nick Sandmann and the students of Covington have become symbols of Fake News and how evil it can be.”   It’s the second time in recent days that Omar has come under fire for social media postings. On Tuesday, Omar backtracked from a 2012 tweet amid the Israeli conflict with Hamas in Gaza in which she wrote: “Israel has hypnotized the world, may Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel. #Gaza #Palestine #Israel.” Omar said that she had previously tried to defend her tweet by putting it in context rather than acknowledging why it may have been offensive to Jewish people. “It’s now apparent to me that I spent lots of energy putting my 2012 tweet in context and little energy is disavowing the anti-semitic trope I unknowingly used, which is unfortunate and offensive,” Omar wrote in a series of tweets. “With that said, it is important to distinguish between criticizing a military action by a government and attacking a particular people of faith,” Omar wrote. “I will not shy away of criticism of any government when I see injustice — whether it be Saudi Arabia, Somalia, even our own government!”

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