A top-moneyed progressive advocacy group has awarded its first endorsement of the 2020 election cycle to embattled U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar, who’s facing allegations of anti-Semitism and other controversies.
MoveOn.org announced its support for the Minnesota Democrat on Wednesday, saying it comes specifically because of criticism Omar has received following her comments.
“Despite racist and anti-Muslim attacks to silence the first Black, Muslim congresswoman in the United States — and blatant attempts to incite violence against her and Muslim communities — Rep. Omar has continued to speak out for bold, progressive policies in order to fight for a society where all of us, not just the rich and powerful, can thrive,” the group’s statement reads.
“Despite racist and anti-Muslim attacks to silence the first Black, Muslim congresswoman in the United States ... Rep. Omar has continued to speak out for bold, progressive policies in order to fight for a society where all of us, not just the rich and powerful, can thrive.”
But the endorsement may prove to be rather awkward for Omar who has long decried the influence of money in politics.
MoveOn has a huge war chest that is used exclusively to prop up Democratic candidates. In the 2018 election cycle, the group spent about $3.5 million, with millions going into running ads against Republicans.
Omar has recently drawn relentless critics over controversial comments. This week she was criticized after an old tweet resurfaced on social media in which she claimed U.S. forces killed “thousands” of Somalis during the 1993 “Black Hawk Down” mission – despite multiple analysts concluding the number was much smaller.
Earlier this month, Omar also faced controversy over her flippant comment during a Muslim advocacy group’s fundraiser where she referred to the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks as “some people did something.”
In February, Omar drew bipartisan uproar after suggesting that politicians in the U.S. were bought by AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee), a non-partisan organization that seeks to foster the relationship between the U.S. and Israel.
“It’s all about the Benjamins baby,” Omar wrote in a now-deleted tweet, suggesting the group pays U.S. politicians to support Israel. AIPAC denied Omar’s claims that they fund politicians.
Omar issued an apology but reiterated a “problematic role of lobbyists” in politics, particularly AIPAC as well as the NRA and fossil fuel industry.
Just weeks later, Omar reignited the controversy, this time saying that supporters of Israel were pushing for U.S. politicians to declare “allegiance” to that nation.
“I want to talk about the political influence in this country that says it is OK for people to push for allegiance to a foreign country,” Omar said. “I want to ask why is it OK for me to talk about the influence of the NRA, of fossil fuel industries, or big pharma, and not talk about a powerful lobbying movement that is influencing policy?”
But MoveOn insists in its news release that its endorsement of Omar is no coincidence and that it fully stands behind her.
“During an era when moral clarity is of the utmost importance, we want to make it clear that Rep. Omar is definitely an important voice in Washington, D.C. — and in the country,” the group said.
“The positive and bold progressive vision for our country that Congresswoman Ilhan Omar fights for every day is one that should be embraced by candidates everywhere — especially heading into 2020. Her fearlessness in advocating progressive policies is galvanizing the public in her district and throughout the country.”