Ilhan Omar: ‘I’m Only Controversial Because People Seem to Want the Controversy’

Sunday on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) dismissed her controversial comments about Israel, U.S. border patrol, and 9/11 by saying, “I’m only controversial because people seem to want the controversy.”

Partial transcript as follows:

MARGARET BRENNAN: Now, we said in the introduction you’re controversial. The Republican National Committee has released a video of you and it- I want to read you just some of it. You’re comparing migrant shelters to dungeons used about 400 years ago in Ghana that you recently visited. And you toured those caves in Ghana recently. It’s getting a lot of attention. Did you mean, when you were talking there, to compare U.S. border agents to slave traders?

OMAR: So, I’m only controversial because people seem to want to- controversy. What I talked about at our panel that was the plight of black immigrants was about the experience I was having as I went through the dungeons. There were stories that were being told, and I talked about how at that moment I had an image of what’s happening in Libya as- as people as- are being sold. We’ve- we’ve all seen that video, that auction of somebody being sold for 400 dollars. And then I talked about the separation stories that he told about how families were being torn apart, how children were being separated from their parents, how husband and wife would be forcibly separated. And I said that kind of reminded me of what was happening at our border here.

BRENNAN: But you didn’t mean it as an attack on U.S. border agents?

OMAR: Absolutely not. I think this is- this is always the point, right? There is always a- an implied intent to every conversation I have and if you listen to the video, one comparison of what the dungeons looked like and people being sold was to what’s happening in North Africa and the other one was a family separations. And of course we obviously have a- a crisis here with our family separation policies.

BRENNAN: You feel very passionately about immigration. You came to this country as a refugee.

OMAR: I did.

(h/t RCP Video)

Follow Pam Key on Twitter @pamkeyNEN

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