- The Washington Times - Friday, September 27, 2019

Rep. Ilhan Omar said Thursday that President Trump is welcome to hold a campaign rally next month in her hometown of Minneapolis — provided he leaves his “lies and bigotry” behind.

Ms. Omar, Minnesota Democrat, made the remark on Twitter after Mr. Trump’s reelection campaign announced plans this week to hold a rally in the city on Oct. 10.

“Our beautiful state welcomes everyone with open arms,” Mr. Omar tweeted. “But to be clear: we will continue to reject you and your campaign of lies and bigotry.”

Ms. Omar, a former Somali refugee and naturalized U.S. citizen, has found herself repeatedly on the receiving end of attacks from Mr. Trump in recent months that the president’s critics have condemned as racist. Mr. Trump said in July that Ms. Omar and other congresswomen of color should “go back” to the countries from where they came, and last week he falsely claimed on Twitter that she was partying during the recent anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks.

Mr. Trump’s reelection campaign announced earlier Thursday that he will hold a “Keep America Great” rally at the Target Center, an arena in downtown Minneapolis capable of holding nearly 20,000 people.

Minnesota’s electoral college votes have been awarded exclusively to Democratic presidential candidates dating back to 1972, though Mr. Trump, a Republican, came close to winning the state in 2016.

“Placing this in Minneapolis at the Target Center, a venue with a significantly larger capacity than past rallies when he’s come into the state, indicates how optimistic the reelection team is, the president is and the Republican Party of Minnesota about our opportunities to flip this state’s 10 electoral votes on Nov. 3 of 2020,” said Minnesota Republican Party Chair Jennifer Carnahan, Minnesota Public Radio reported.

Ms. Omar is hardly the only Minnesota Democrat wary of the event, however.

“Under ordinary circumstances, it would be an honor to welcome a sitting president of the United States to Minneapolis and to showcase all our city has to offer on the national stage,” Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said in a statement Thursday. “But these aren’t ordinary circumstances. Since taking office President Trump’s actions have been reprehensible and his rhetoric has made it clear that he does not value the perspectives or rights of Minneapolis’ diverse communities.

“While there is no legal mechanism to prevent the president from visiting, his message of hatred will never be welcome in Minneapolis,” Mr. Frey added.

• Andrew Blake can be reached at ablake@washingtontimes.com.

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