Sen. Rand Paul called Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar “ungrateful” and suggested she go back and visit Somalia, where she was born, to gain a better appreciation for America.
“And so — while I’m not saying we forcibly send her anywhere — I’m willing to contribute to buy her a ticket to go visit Somalia,” the Kentucky Republican said.
Omar reportedly fled war in Somalia with her family when she was 8 years old and immigrated to the U.S. as a refugee four years later, but Paul said she still has more to learn about “the disaster that is Somalia.”
“And I think she can look 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,” he said. “And then maybe after she’s visited Somalia for a while, she might come back and appreciate America more.”
Paul made the comments to the far-right news and commentary website Breitbart last week during the Turning Points USA summit in Washington for high school and college Republicans.
He was speaking in defense of President Donald Trump, who earlier this month said Omar and three other congresswomen ― Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Tlaib ― should “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.”
All of the women are U.S. citizens, and only Omar is foreign-born.
Paul, equating Omar’s criticism of some U.S. government policies with denigration of the nation as a whole, added in his conversation with Breitbart that he’s in a town with a lot of refugees, some having fled communism, others from Somalia or Bosnia, and he’s never heard them say America’s a terrible place.
“They’re some of the best Americans we have because they really appreciate how great our country is, and then I hear Representative Omar say, ‘Oh, America’s a terrible place,'” Paul said. “And it’s like, well she came here and we fed her. We clothed her. She got welfare. She got schooled. She got healthcare.”
“And then, lo and behold, she has the honor of actually winning a seat in Congress, and she says we’re a terrible country? I think that’s about as ungrateful as you can get.”