Sen. Rand Paul criticized Minnesota Democratic U.S. Rep Ilhan Omar and offered to help buy her a plane ticket to her native country in comments published by Breitbart.
The Kentucky senator was asked Wednesday about President Donald Trump’s recent tweets, in which he told some Democratic congresswoman to “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime-infested places from which they came.” Omar, a native of Somalia, is the only congresswoman Trump referenced who was born outside the United States.
Paul called Omar “about as ungrateful as you can get” for winning a seat in Congress and criticizing the country.
“And so, I’m not saying we forcibly send her anywhere, I’m willing to contribute to buy her a ticket to go visit Somalia,” Paul said in the published interview with Breitbart dated Friday. News of the remarks continued to spread Monday. “And I think she can learn and maybe learn a little bit about the disaster that is Somalia — that has no capitalism, has no God-given rights guaranteed in a constitution, and has about seven different tribes that have been fighting each other for the last 40 years. And then maybe after she’s visited Somalia for a while, she might come back and appreciate America more.”
Omar has been outspoken against Trump. But some fact-checking sites say Trump and others have erroneously claimed she said things about the country that she didn’t. Omar has not made any public response to Paul’s remarks. She retweeted a comment Monday that pointed out she visits Somalia already.
Omar fled Somalia in 1992 with her family and was elected to the U.S. House from Minnesota’s 5th Congressional District last year. Omar is a U.S. citizen.
Trump targeted Omar during a political rally in North Carolina last week. The crowd of Trump supporters responded with a resounding “send her back” chant.
In an op-ed for the New York Times, Omar said the rally “will be a defining moment in American history.”
“Today, democracy is under attack once again,” Omar wrote. “It’s time to respond with the kind of conviction that has made America great before.”
Earlier this month, Paul told WAVE 3 he was “dumbfounded how unappreciative” Omar was of the United States.
“She has this bitterness and anger toward the country,” Paul told the Louisville TV station. “So I think she does deserve a rebuke over trying to say we have a rotten country.”
Snopes.com, a fact-checking website, found no records of Omar describing the country as “rotten.”