Majority Whip Tom Emmer (R-MN) sent a letter Wednesday to the House Ethics Committee requesting an investigation into Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) over a recent viral speech in Somali in which she allegedly claimed to be working in Somalia’s interest in Congress.
Emmer said he believes the translated remarks made last week violate House rules, specifically Rule XXIII, clause 1, which says “a Member of the House shall behave at all times in a manner that shall reflect creditably on the House.”
“No sitting member of Congress should be able to blatantly spew anti-American rhetoric and get away with it,” Emmer said in a statement, further calling her remarks “appalling.”
No sitting member of Congress should be able to blatantly spew anti-American rhetoric and get away with it.
I am demanding an ethics investigation into Ilhan Omar's appalling, Somalia-first comments. https://t.co/GsvJDYohIq
— Tom Emmer (@GOPMajorityWhip) January 31, 2024
During a Saturday speech in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Omar reportedly said in Somali, “We are an organized society, brothers and sisters, people of the same blood, people who know they are Somalis first, Muslims second, who protect one another,” according to a translation.
In the speech, she also was accused of saying, “Sleep in comfort knowing I am here to protect the interest of Somalia from inside the U.S. system,” adding, “Together we will protect the interests of Somalia.”
Somaliland Ambassador Rhoda Elmi shared the video on social media, explaining she was shocked by the congresswoman’s remarks. She described Omar’s remarks as “regrettably unbecoming of both the office she holds and the constituents she represents.” Somaliland, or the Republic of Somaliland, is notably an unrecognized African state, which Somalia believes to be a part of its territory.
We were profoundly surprised, even shocked on discovering the remarks made by Congresswoman Ilhan Omar (D) of Minnesota in a recent public forum, widely circulated on most social media platforms and attached below for your reference.
The language she employed was regrettably… pic.twitter.com/7Ag9ZafTKY
— Ambassador Rhoda J Elmi (@AmbRhodaJElmi) January 28, 2024
In his letter to the Ethics Committee, Emmer agreed that Omar’s statements were “unbecoming,” adding that they “reflect poorly on the United States House of Representatives.” He further claimed they are “a slap in the face to the Minnesotans she represents.”
Emmer also noted his reverence for the First Amendment but explained his belief that Omar’s disregard for her office warrants ethical review.
Omar reposted on X a separate translation of her remarks, which read, “We Somalis are people who love each other. It is possible that some of us are rough with each other, but when the going gets tough, we are people who have each other’s backs. We are sisters and brothers, supporting each other, people who know they are Somalis and Muslims, coming to each other’s aid and aiding their brothers and sisters.”
In another disputed part of her speech, the translation reshared by Omar says, “While I am in Congress, no one will take Somalia’s sea. The United States will not back others to rob us. So, do not lose sleep over that, O Minnesotans. The lady you sent to Congress is on this, and she is as cognizant of this interest as you are.”
Omar’s office did not provide comment to the Washington Examiner.
Responding to the translation cited by Emmer on X, Omar claimed it was “not only slanted but completely off, but I wouldn’t expect more from these propagandists.”
The committee declined to provide a comment on Emmer’s request to the Washington Examiner.
Below is Emmer’s letter to the House Ethics Committee
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