On Friday, Politico Magazine quoted Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) as suggesting President Barack Obama was a murderer for the “droning of countries around the world” and that just because someone is more “polished” than President Donald Trump doesn’t excuse their bad policies.
After the article was published, Omar claimed her quote was taken out of context. So, she uploaded audio of the interview. The full context proved Politico’s Tim Alberta quoted her accurately.
Alberta wrote the following paragraph regarding his conversation with Omar regarding Obama:
As she saw it, the party ostensibly committed to progressive values had become complicit in perpetuating the status quo. Omar says the “hope and change” offered by Barack Obama was a mirage. Recalling the “caging of kids” at the U.S.-Mexico border and the “droning of countries around the world” on Obama’s watch, she argues that the Democratic president operated within the same fundamentally broken framework as his Republican successor.
Alberta then quotes Omar directly:
“We can’t be only upset with Trump. … His policies are bad, but many of the people who came before him also had really bad policies. They just were more polished than he was,” Omar says. “And that’s not what we should be looking for anymore. We don’t want anybody to get away with murder because they are polished. We want to recognize the actual policies that are behind the pretty face and the smile.”
Omar pushed back against Alberta’s reporting, sharing her dismay on Twitter.
“Exhibit A of how reporters distort words. I’m an Obama fan! I was saying how [President] Trump is different from Obama, and why we should focus on policy not politics,” Omar said in a now-deleted tweet.
She also posted audio of her interview, which completely backed up Alberta’s reporting.
“You know I will talk about the family separation or caging of kids and people will point out that this was Trump — I mean this was Obama. I mean I’ll say something about the droning of countries around the world and people will say that was Obama. And all of that is very true,” Omar said in her own audio recording.
“We can’t be only upset with Trump because he’s not a politician who sells us his policies in the most perfect way. His policies are bad, but many of the people who came before him also had really bad policies. They just were more polished than he was, and that’s not what we should be looking for anymore,” Omar went on to say. “We don’t want anybody to get away with murder because they are polished, we want to recognize the actual policies that are behind the pretty face and the smile so that we can understand the kind of negative impact, or positive impact they will have on us for generations to come.”
Alberta then took to his own Twitter account to respond to Omar.
“Exhibit A of how politicians use the media as a straw man to avoid owning what they said,” he tweeted. “Your tape…supports what I wrote 100%. So does my longer tape. It’s beyond dispute.”
“Next time, a phone call from your office before the Twitter ambush would be appreciated,” he added.
Alberta then retweeted Huffington Post reporter Travis Waldron, who said: “The weird thing about Omar taking issue with Politico’s accurate and contextual quoting of her is that an honest reading of what she said read not like a criticism of Obama necessarily but of the American presidency and the limited framework in which it exists & is evaluated.”