Dalia al-Aqidi, a refugee who escaped from Saddam Hussein’s tyrannical Iraqi regime in 1988, announced on Thursday that she has launched a Republican congressional bid for Minnesota’s 5th Congressional District against far-left Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), who has faced scandal after scandal in just her first year in Congress.
Al-Aqidi, a former White House correspondent, told The Daily Wire in an exclusive interview that she decided to run because Omar was “doing irreparable harm to both Minnesota and the U.S.—she must be stopped.”
In the interview, Al-Aqidi praised President Donald Trump for his foreign policy agenda in the region, including the recent decision to kill Iranian terrorist Qassem Soleimani.
Al-Aqidi made the announcement in a video that she posted to Twitter where she highlighted her background and how living under a tyrannical big government shaped her political views.
It's time to defend America! I'm running for Congress because we're not as divided as Ilhan Omar and the far-left would have us believe. I'm running to bring us closer together. https://t.co/sa9dsHHTeO
— Dalia al-Aqidi (@Dalia4Congress) January 16, 2020
Below is The Daily Wire’s exclusive interview with Dalia al-Aqidi on her decision to run against Ilhan Omar:
1. What inspired you to get into politics?
Al-Aqidi: I chose to run for Congress because I believe Ilhan Omar is doing irreparable harm to both Minnesota and the U.S.—she must be stopped. Her consistent anti-Semitism and hateful rhetoric are toxic and serve only to gain attention for herself and position herself as a celebrity—she’s not fighting for us; she is fighting for herself, even if that means fighting against us. I was inspired to launch my campaign because I believe the residents of this district need someone fighting for them, not DC insiders and foreign influences, and our country needs leaders who believe in America, not condone it at every step.
2. What do you think about what the Trump administration is doing in Iraq?
Al-Aqidi: When I was just a little girl, my family was forced to flee Iraq and leave everything behind because of the brutal dictatorship of Saddam Hussein, so this issue is very personal for me. I have tried to expose atrocities happening across the Middle East. I believe the Trump Administration is taking action to do the same while protecting Americans both home and abroad.
3. Do you agree with the administration’s decision to kill Soleimani? What do you think about how Trump is handling Iran?
Al-Aqidi: I was proud of President Trump and his Administration for ending the reign of Qasem Soleimani, who was a vicious terrorist and thug. I was absolutely disgusted with how Democrats cheered on a terrorist. In times like this our country needs to rally together, not push each other apart.
4. You are running against far-left Democrat Ilhan Omar in Minnesota’s 5th Congressional District. What makes you uniquely qualified to take on Omar?
Al-Aqidi: I believe I am uniquely qualified to take her on because we come from similar backgrounds—we’re both Muslims, women, and refugees. That being said, we couldn’t be more different. I have used my life experience to expose oppression and boost the U.S. while Omar has done the opposite—stoking fear, inspiring hatred, inciting violence, and embarrassing the U.S.
5. Did being a refugee from Iraq play a role in the life experiences that shaped your political views? If so, how?
Al-Aqidi: Absolutely. My family was forced to leave everything behind because of a brutal dictatorship. As a journalist overseas trying to expose the atrocities happening in the Middle East, I gained a unique perspective on how the two parties viewed what was happening over there. However, the left-wing is much worse today than it has ever been. They’re inspired by hatred, self-interest, and a desire to fundamentally change the American way of life. I’ve seen this world once and was lucky enough to escape it. I will not let it happen here in the U.S. I am so grateful to the U.S. for the life and opportunities it has given me.
6. In what ways do you think Omar has let down the people of your district?
Al-Aqidi: Omar has spent her entire time in Washington sowing seeds of division and actively supporting our enemies, while also doing everything she can to prop up her own celebrity status instead of fighting for her constituents. Even when President Trump has taken action to help her constituents, Omar condemns him simply out of personal hatred. Meanwhile, more scandal and corruption flood out of her office every week. Minnesota’s 5th district deserves someone who is fighting for them, not the radical left in DC.
7. What are the top three issues for voters in your district and how do you plan on addressing those issues?
a. National Security—I believe that there are many dangerous individuals, both Islamists and others, who wish to do harm to the U.S. President Trump is making efforts to make America safer by taking action on the border and in the Middle East. Meanwhile, Omar is for open borders and supports those we are fighting in the Middle East. She is actively making life dangerous for not only our district, but for America at large.
b. Immigration—I believe those wishing to do harm to the U.S. are attempting to gain access to the U.S. every day. I support President Trump’s efforts to secure the border and fix our legal immigration system. Meanwhile, Omar wants to open up our borders and allow those same dangerous individuals to freely enter the country.
c. Economy—Small businesses are struggling in Minnesota and are going to struggle even more under the socialistic policies that Omar is fighting for. With her in power, more businesses will close and more people will become unemployed, all so that the federal government can seize more power and become larger.
8. Why should minorities, women, and young people vote Republican and how do you plan to reach them?
Al-Aqidi: Our campaign is going to take our message to every voter in the district, not just those who are young or minorities. We are going to show that with Omar as their representative in Congress, they’re being ignored. She is not fighting for their interests and they are suffering because of it. The hardworking families of this district need and deserve better, and we’re going to show them that there is a better alternative.
9. How should the GOP respond to some of the issues, like healthcare and student debt, that Democrats propose addressing with socialist policies?
Al-Aqidi: When it comes to healthcare, there is a war of ideas going on and as Republicans, we know that we’re on the right side. The price of healthcare can be lowered while also improving access not by handing more power to the government, but by giving people more control. When it comes to student debt, I do not believe we should cancel all student debt or make college free like Omar and many other socialists have advocated for. Instead, I believe we should be focusing on reducing the price of secondary education in the first place while also providing other options to young people to build a better life for themselves instead of pushing them to go to college and finish in worse shape than when they started.
10. How should Republicans respond to the Democrats becoming the party of identity politics?
Al-Aqidi: By ignoring their politics of hate and uplifting candidates like me who don’t fit the typical mold. There are so many women, minorities, unique candidates running in districts across the country. I hope I can help give them a voice and encourage them to fight and win.
11. What do you view as the greatest threat the United States both from a foreign and a domestic standpoint?
Al-Aqidi: I believe the greatest threat before us is a combination of illegal immigration and those wishing to do us harm in the Middle East. As I’ve mentioned, we must secure our border if we hope to stop the flood of these dangerous individuals from entering the U.S. We must also combat the groups in the Middle East who are brazenly making threats against Americans. The Trump Administration is making incredible progress on both of these fronts in order to make America safer and I look forward to work with him in Congress to continue these efforts.
12. If elected, what do you hope to accomplish with respect to policy?
Al-Aqidi: I believe first and foremost that we need to make America safe for our citizens. Terrorist organizations are growing stronger by the day, due partially to the veiled support they’re getting from people like Ilhan Omar. I also believe that something absolutely must be done about the economy and quality of life here in Minneapolis. Housing is becoming much more expensive, as is healthcare, our schools are becoming run-down, and residents are having to work harder and harder to bring home the same pay. These are issues Ilhan Omar doesn’t care about—since she’s taken office, she’s done nothing to actually aid our struggling community other than offer soundbites that solely benefit her.
13. A lot of the narrative surrounding the climate has come from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and her proposed “Green New Deal,” which her former chief-of-staff even admitted was about implementing socialism. The “Green New Deal” is a socialist vision that the Democrat Party is trying to sell to America. How do you counter that? What is your vision for America?
Al-Aqidi: Protecting the environment should be taken seriously, but socialists like Omar and Ocasio-Cortez would rather use the issue as an opportunity to implement their agenda. Their “Green New Deal” is less about protecting the environment than it is making a massive power grab for the federal government. Its cost to American families alone proves this. I believe that by exposing their plan to voters in both Minnesota and across the U.S., voters will see it for what it is—a socialistic power grab.
14. What are your thoughts on Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) and the rise of anti-Semitism in the Democrat Party?
Al-Aqidi: To put it simply, I think it’s disgusting. The nerve of Omar to claim that she is speaking for all Muslims is stunning—she certainly does not speak for me. I believe we need to do everything in our power to protect Israel and combat the groups and nations who wish to erase it from the map.
15. What areas of the Republican Party’s platform do you think needs to be addressed, and/or changed?
Al-Aqidi: The President receives a lot of backlash because of his style of politics, but look at what he’s actually done—cut regulation, created jobs, bolstered the economy, and made America safer. The only thing standing in the Trump Administration’s way from reaching its true potential are the members of Congress like Omar. By kicking these kinds of members out of Congress, I believe the Republican platform can truly be accomplished.
16. What do you hope to inspire in other elected officials and future leaders to help make America a better place?
Al-Aqidi: I hope to show that we can succeed if we come together, not by widening the already existing rift between us. Omar has done nothing but spread conflict, division, and oppression, and her constituents have suffered because of it. I hope to inspire other elected officials to unite, not divide.
17. When you are not working, what do you do for fun?
Al-Aqidi: I enjoy running, going to dinner with friends, and volunteering with some of the faith leaders in Minnesota’s 5th Congressional District!
BREAKING: I’m running for Congress to defeat Ilhan Omar. Join my campaign and help by making an online contribution now! https://t.co/El9474IVRj
— Dalia al-Aqidi (@Dalia4Congress) January 16, 2020