While discussing her new book This Is What America Looks Like: My Journey from Refugee to Congresswoman with the New York Times, Ilhan Omar expanded on her controversial statment made in the book:
I am, by nature, a starter of fires. My work has been to figure out where I’m going to burn down everything around me by adding the fuel of my religion, skin color, gender or even tone.
When the New York Times asked her, “Couldn’t that kind of language be interpreted as a form of demagoguery,” she responded with:
It’s metaphorical. There are many times when people will say, “Something you said has agitated this space.” And it’s like, no, it’s me just showing up that did it. There are times when I will choose to not show up, because I know that my presence brings about intensity that isn’t going to be helpful. There’s no one else that exists in a space where they have to deal with the hate of anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant, anti-blackness, but also with sexism. People will say it’s my “tone.” I’m like, you’re agitated by my tone because you think people like me should be sitting in a corner, not heard and not seen. Everything that comes out of my mouth is going to be filtered through the lens of you despising my existence.
Will the American people truly believe her explanation of her “metaphor,” or will they look at her record of anti-Semitism and violent rhetoric toward her enemies?