Facts Matter: President attributes fake quote to Rep. Omar

 
 
Updated 7/20/2019 6:22 PM

President Donald Trump last week used Twitter to take aim at a group of liberal Democrats, including Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar, New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Massachusetts Rep. Ayanna Pressley and Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib, telling them to "go back" to their countries.

The president followed that up by falsely accusing Omar of having praised al-Qaida, the terrorist group responsible for the 9/11 attacks, according to The Washington Post.

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During a July 15 event at the White House, Trump said, "I look at Omar. I don't know. I never met her. I hear the way she talks about al-Qaida. Al-Qaida has killed many Americans. She said, 'You can hold your chest out, you can -- when I think of America, huh, when I think of al-Qaida, I can hold my chest out.'"

There is no evidence Omar made this statement or that she sympathizes with al-Qaida terrorists, the Post said.

Trump appears to be referencing a short video clip from a 2013 interview Omar did with a Minnesota PBS show about Middle East issues, according to CNN. Omar, an American citizen who came to the U.S. as a refugee from Somalia, denounced terrorists as people committing "atrocities."

The conversation later focused on Americans' use of Arabic names, such as al-Qaida, which are said with intensity, giving the words the appearance of "a bigger meaning," Omar said.

Omar referred to a college class she attended in which the professor added emphasis every time he said "al-Qaida," according to CNN.

"The thing that was interesting in the class was every time the professor said 'al-Qaida' he sort of like -- his shoulders went up," Omar said. "You don't say 'America' with an intensity, you don't say 'England' with an intensity, you know, you don't say 'the army' with an intensity. But you say these names because you want that word to carry weight."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Accusing Omar of praising al-Qaida is 'simply inaccurate,' CNN said.

Obama didn't remove citizenship question

In a 5-4 ruling on June 27, the Supreme Court said a question about citizenship, proposed by the Trump administration, could not be added to the 2020 census form.

Shortly after the decision, social media posts began circulating with users asking how President Barack Obama could remove the citizenship question from the 2010 census without going through the Supreme Court while President Donald Trump needs permission to put it back.

Blogs and social media are falsely reporting that Obama eliminated the question from the 2010 census, <URL destination="https://www.apnews.com/01448de6f2ba4909907abb4eebb97f7d">according to The Associated Press.

</URL>In fact, AP said, Obama wasn't in office when the 2010 form was created. The census' 10 questions, none about citizenship, were finalized in March 2008, while George W. Bush was president.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The main census form, distributed every decade to U.S. households, included a question about citizenship status through 1950, AP said. Until the Trump administration's proposal, there hasn't been a movement to get it back.

"Nobody proposed it, nobody ever asked for it," University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee census historian Margo Anderson told AP.

A citizenship question was added in 1970 to the long-form questionnaire, which includes more detailed questions but is sent to just a sample of U.S. households, Anderson told AP. The long form was discontinued after 2000 due to complaints the survey was burdensome and invasive.

It was replaced in 2010 by the American Community Survey, sent to some households annually, which includes questions about household income, military service and citizenship status.

Sanders exaggerated black employment figures

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, while addressing racial and economic inequality issues in an op-ed he penned for The Washington Post, claimed African-Americans make up nearly half the associates employed at Walmart.

That figure is "off by a lot," according to PolitiFact.com.

"Walmart is the largest private employer of African-Americans in the country -- 42% of its associates are black," Sanders wrote. "And it pays its employees below a living wage -- even while the Walton family owns more wealth than the bottom 40% of Americans."

According to the Walmart report the Vermont senator cited, 42% of the organization's associates are people of color, PolitiFact said.

Sanders' spokeswoman Sarah Ford acknowledged that figure would include all people of color, not only African-Americans, and the campaign regrets the error, PolitiFact said.

Walmart reports African-American employees make up 22.2% of its workforce, compared to 13% for the U.S. as a whole, PolitiFact said.

• Bob Oswald is a veteran Chicago-area journalist and former news editor of the Elgin Courier-News. Contact him at boboswald33@gmail.com.

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