Democrat Omar Is Under Fire for Spouting Unfounded Conspiracy Theories About Trump

Lawmaker takes heat for wild ideas about Sen. Lindsey Graham

Image Credit: Andrew Burton/Staff/Getty Images & Alex Wong/Getty Image

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.)(shown above right) on Thursday defended her unsubstantiated claims that President Donald Trump is using “compromising” information about Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) to “blackmail” the senator into supporting Trump’s policies — including border wall funding.

The government partially shut down just before Christmas after congressional Democrats refused to give the president the $5 billion he said was needed for security wall funding.

Conjectures concerning the rumored existence of “compromising” information on Graham began seeping into mainstream conversations over the last couple weeks as Graham steadfastly supported Trump’s wall funding demands.

Graham, who has served in the Senate for 16 years and who unsuccessfully ran for the 2016 GOP nomination, criticized Trump during the presidential campaign and refused to support him. But after Trump won the White House in a stunning political upset, Graham began to change his tune. He has been backing Trump on an array of issues.

About the border wall in particular, Graham has tweeted multiple times that Trump should “build a wall NOW” and that he should even declare a “national emergency” to fund the wall if Democrats won’t budge.

Omar, the first Somali-American elected to Congress and one of the first two Muslim women elected to Congress, was sworn into Congress on January 3.

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On Tuesday, the congresswoman tweeted a video of Graham criticizing Trump in 2015, writing, “They got to him, he is compromised!”

During an interview Thursday on CNN’s “Newsroom,” anchors Poppy Harlow and Jim Sciutto cornered Omar about her unsubstantiated claims against Trump and Graham.

“We need to ask you about this,” Sciutto began as he pointed to Omar’s tweet. “This has sparked a fair amount of criticism, not just from Republicans. Can you explain that comment?”

Omar replied that “we have seen many times” over the past three years that Graham “has told us how dangerous this president could be if he was given the opportunity to be in the White House.”

“And all of a sudden, he has made not only a 180 turnaround, but a 360 turnaround. And so I am pretty sure that there is something happening with him, whether it is, you know, something that has to do with his funding when it comes to running for office, whether it has something to do with the polling that they might have in — in his district, or whether it has to do with some sort of leadership within the Senate,” Omar surmised.

“He is somehow compromised to no longer stand up for the truth and — and to make sure that he is fighting to protect the oath that he took in serving the American people,” Omar also claimed.

Sciutto pushed back on those comments, asking the new lawmaker, “Based on what evidence, what facts? That’s a remarkable comment to make about a sitting U.S. senator.”

Omar insisted that “the evidence really is present to us. It’s being presented to us in the way that he is behaving.”

Harlow also countered, “But that’s not evidence. That’s your opinion … Again, just based on what evidence, Congresswoman?”

Omar said her tweet “was just an opinion based on what I believe to be visible to me, and I’m pretty sure there are lots of Americans who — who agree on this.”

Even MSNBC anchor Stephanie Ruhle suggested this week that Trump was blackmailing Graham into supporting him with some “pretty extreme” information.

Some liberals and media figures have suggested the “compromising” information could be about Graham’s rumored sexual orientation, as Graham has never married and has no children. These claims remain unsubstantiated.

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Jon Cooper, chair of The Democratic Coalition, tweeted this week, “A Republican just told me that he doubts @LindseyGrahamSC is kowtowing to Trump (and indirectly Putin) because he’s being blackmailed over his sexual orientation (an open secret) or even financial corruption. Rather, he thinks it probably involves some pretty serious sexual kink.”

Although Omar didn’t specifically mention conspiracies about Graham’s sexual orientation, her comments and wild speculation were met with widespread backlash on social media.

CNN host S.E. Cupp tweeted, “This is ignorant, homophobic and unacceptable, @IlhanMN. Democrats, this is becoming a very bad look.”

“There is a specific implication in calling Graham ‘compromised.’ Why not merely ‘unprincipled,’ ‘craven,’ ‘hypocritical,’ or a ‘flip-flopper’?”

“The meaning there is not subtle, and it needs to stop,” Cupp added.

When liberal Peter Daou tried to call out Cupp, she replied, “No. A member of Congress jumped on the patently homophobic ‘Lindsey must be hiding something’ bandwagon and offered precisely ZERO proof, only wholly invented, baseless hypotheticals. That’s irresponsible … and also ignorant, homophobic and unacceptable.”

The Daily Caller’s Amber Athey tweeted, “She’s … one of the first Muslim women in Congress, has made anti-Semitic statements, accused a senator of being compromised without evidence, and was just interviewed on @CNN. If you can’t understand why this is newsworthy then that’s on you.”

Campus Reform’s media director, Cabot Phillips, tweeted, “‘That’s not evidence.’ Wow. Kudos to CNN hosts here for repeatedly pushing Rep. Omar on her outlandish comments that Lindsey Graham is being blackmailed into supporting Trump.”

Grabien founder and editor Tom Elliott tweeted, “Yes, Rep. Omar hasn’t explicitly said Graham’s sexuality is the blackmail being used against him. But as everyone in D.C. knows, this is the rumor circulated about Graham, so saying he’s ‘compromised’ achieves this purpose. No reason to give her a pass for dog whistling.”

Conservative strategist Caleb Hull tweeted, “Here we have Ilhan Omar, a sitting congresswoman, floating around a conspiracy theory with absolutely zero evidence that Lindsey Graham is secretly gay and the GOP is holding him hostage. Unbelievable.”

New York Magazine’s Jonathan Chait tweeted, “This is a baseless charge. Graham has obvious political motives to explain his behavior. Spreading malicious conspiracy theories about him is totally irresponsible.”

Omar defended herself on Twitter, writing, “Yes, because the Right thinks being homosexual is ‘compromising.’ Well I have news for them, being LGBTQ+ isn’t something we should be ashamed of! Y’all know my tweet had nothing to do with his sexuality and everything to do with his blind cooperation w/ Trump. Let’s focus!”

“I love how revealing the Right is in their assumptions of me. Pro-tip — just because you are homophobic, doesn’t mean everyone else is. Deal with your own bigotry and Islamophobic views of me, and stop with the hateful smears,” Omar added.

Check out more on this story in the video below:

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