Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) had harsh words for former Democratic gubernatorial candidate-turned-progressive activist Stacey Abrams in an interview with CNN late Sunday, blasting Abrams over an op-ed published late last week where Abrams called on Georgia companies not to boycott the state over its new election security bill.
Abrams spoke harshly of the legislation, which more clearly outlines Georgia election policy on absentee and early voting and places stricter limits on electioneering at polling places, until late last week when Major League Baseball decided to pull its All-Star Game from Atlanta over the bill. In her op-ed, Abrams pleaded with companies to keep their business in Georgia.
“[B]oycotts are complicated affairs that require a long-term commitment to action. I have no doubt that voters of color, particularly Black voters, are willing to endure the hardships of boycotts. But I don’t think that’s necessary — yet,” Abrams wrote.
Even President Joe Biden said he tacitly supported the MLB’s decision, telling reporters last week that the bill is “Jim Crow on steroids” and that “today’s professional athletes are acting incredibly responsibly” in protesting the legislation.
Over the weekend, though, a number of Democrats recanted their earlier, strong statements, particularly after Republicans pointed out that many states, including New York, which is lobbying to host the relocated MLB All-Star Game, have more restrictive election laws than Georgia’s.
Rep. Ilhan Omar is not one of those Democrats, and in an interview with CNN on Sunday, she issued a stunning rebuke against Abrams, schooling the Georgia Democrat on how boycotts were instrumental in the fight for civil rights in the United States and against Apartheid in South Africa.
“We know that boycotts have allowed for justice to be delivered in many spaces. The civil rights movement was rooted in boycotts. We know that, you know, apartheid ended in South Africa because of boycotts,” Omar told the network, blasting Abrams.
“So our hope is that, you know, this boycott will result in changes in the law because we understand that when you restrict people’s ability to vote, you create a democracy that isn’t fully functioning for all of us, and if we are to continue to be beacon of hope for all democracies around the world, we must stand our ground,” she added.
Georgia’s governor, Republican Brian Kemp, defended the law against “liberal lies” over the weekend.
“Here’s the truth,” Kemp said, in reference to the law. Instead, he added, it “expands access to voting, secures ballot drop boxes around the clock in every county, expands weekend voting, protects no-excuse absentee voting. It levels the playing field on voter I.D. requirements as well as streamlining election procedures.”
Reaction to the law, Kemp said, particularly the MLB’s decision to relocate the All-Star Game, is the result of “fear and lies from liberal activists.”
Cobb County, Georgia, which was set to host the game, also complained about the MLB’s decision, telling media, in a statement over the weekend, that the county stands to lose $100 million in revenue because of the league’s decision.
“This event would have directly impacted our county and the state, as visitors spend their dollars on local accommodations, transportation, entertainment and recreation, food and retail throughout the county,” Cobb County Travel and Tourism said. “This would have been a big boost to Cobb businesses and help with recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The MLB has not announced a new location for the All-Star Game.
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