Minnesota Democrats reject President Trump's take on Somali immigrants

President Donald Trump acknowledges supporters during his campaign rally address Thursday, Oct. 10, 2019, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)

Minnesota Democrats are condemning President Donald Trump for criticizing their state for welcoming so many Somali refugees.

Posted: Oct 11, 2019 10:04 AM
Updated: Oct 11, 2019 1:10 PM

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota Democrats, Muslims and other groups condemned President Donald Trump on Friday for criticizing the state for welcoming so many Somali refugees and called out Republican leaders for their silence on the statements.

At his campaign rally Thursday night in Minneapolis, which is home to the largest Somali population in the U.S., Trump said Washington leaders had sent "large numbers of refugees to your state from Somalia without considering the impact on schools and communities and taxpayers."

The statement drew boos from the nearly all-white crowd at Target Center, the city's NBA arena, and had echoes of his campaign appearance in Minneapolis shortly before the 2016 election, when he described Somali resettlement as "the disaster taking place in Minnesota."

Nihad Awad, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said Trump's "racist rant" was the latest example of his efforts to divide the nation for his political benefit.

"It is all the more disturbing that the almost all-white audience welcomed this overt racism and that Republican political leaders remain silent or even support such bigotry," Awad said.

Trump also boasted that he had kept a promise by ordering that no refugees would be resettled in any city or state without approval from that city or state. He apparently meant an executive order he issued two weeks earlier that said the federal government "should resettle refugees only in those jurisdictions in which both the State and local governments have consented to receive refugees."

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey — who Trump called "a rotten man" and a "bad mayor" — tweeted in reply: "Consent given. Immigrants and refugees are welcome in Minneapolis."

"Immigrants and refugees have helped make our state a wonderful place to live and work — which is far more than this President has done," tweeted Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who is running for president. "Stop using immigrants and refugees as political pawns!"

Two Republican congressmen who traveled to Minneapolis with the president on Air Force One and attended Thursday night's rally — Reps. Tom Emmer and Pete Stauber — did not immediately respond to requests for comments left with their spokeswomen Friday. Emmer chairs the House GOP campaign arm, the Republican National Congressional Committee.

Minnesota Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, the highest-ranking GOP official in state government, said the president's remarks on Somalis and immigration didn't strike him as bigoted. He said Trump isn't afraid to say when he believes something isn't working well.

"That has been a contentious issue in Minnesota, but how we navigate through it will be ours to solve," Gazelka said in an interview.

Trump also attacked U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar, a Somali American from Minneapolis who has long been one of his favorite targets, as an "America-hating socialist" and a "disgrace to our country," and he criticized Minnesotans for electing her.

"His hate is no match for our movement," Omar replied in a tweet that included a link to a site for donations.

Omar and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York make up half of what's known as the "squad" of four freshmen female representatives of color who have been sharp critics of the president. By Friday morning, Ocasio-Cortez was trying to raise money off Trump's attacks from the night before, seeking $3 donations to be split between her and Omar.

"This is just the latest installment in Trump's xenophobic crusade against the Squad and our progressive mission. And he's not going to back down," Ocasio-Cortez's campaign said in a fundraising email. "Our movement scares him. The Squad represents everything about the future of our democracy, while Trump only stands for dragging us into the past. He knows he has to tear us down to win his hateful agenda."

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 485230

Reported Deaths: 6554
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1006801585
Ramsey43047801
Dakota36254390
Anoka33274384
Washington22065255
Stearns18723201
St. Louis14794262
Scott13273107
Wright12517115
Olmsted1177988
Sherburne871572
Carver771040
Clay690387
Rice670091
Blue Earth593835
Kandiyohi579474
Crow Wing519681
Chisago498445
Otter Tail481870
Benton446190
Winona418049
Mower404131
Douglas392568
Nobles386847
Goodhue385568
Polk342762
McLeod339349
Beltrami337351
Morrison324247
Lyon313044
Itasca312746
Becker310941
Isanti305754
Carlton300149
Steele299711
Pine282016
Freeborn280523
Nicollet258141
Todd247830
Brown244637
Le Sueur235020
Mille Lacs227247
Cass219924
Waseca208917
Meeker207434
Martin189328
Wabasha18623
Roseau180217
Hubbard160640
Houston157314
Dodge15214
Renville149540
Redwood147027
Fillmore13728
Chippewa136335
Cottonwood134820
Pennington134116
Wadena130920
Faribault122917
Aitkin118933
Sibley117310
Watonwan11728
Rock115714
Kanabec107419
Pipestone101424
Yellow Medicine97617
Murray9438
Jackson93510
Swift87918
Pope8025
Marshall77815
Stevens7418
Lake73718
Clearwater71914
Lac qui Parle68316
Wilkin67110
Koochiching61811
Big Stone5163
Lincoln5062
Grant4918
Unassigned47968
Norman4768
Mahnomen4417
Kittson40821
Red Lake3625
Traverse3055
Lake of the Woods2191
Cook1180

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 362189

Reported Deaths: 5414
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk58146549
Linn20653312
Scott18288207
Black Hawk16249291
Woodbury14961211
Johnson1383473
Dubuque13537194
Dallas1135890
Pottawattamie10765143
Story1021645
Warren555274
Clinton543284
Cerro Gordo533681
Webster518787
Marshall496272
Sioux494369
Buena Vista473236
Des Moines457661
Muscatine451191
Wapello4330108
Jasper416966
Plymouth394577
Lee375352
Marion359069
Jones294154
Henry292737
Carroll285548
Bremer280154
Crawford274735
Boone259630
Washington254147
Benton252854
Mahaska224346
Jackson221438
Dickinson217439
Tama213465
Kossuth208154
Clay193525
Hamilton192042
Delaware188839
Winneshiek188427
Buchanan185129
Fayette185035
Page183219
Hardin181039
Wright179731
Harrison179669
Cedar177923
Clayton168053
Butler166331
Mills163120
Floyd162740
Madison154518
Cherokee153935
Poweshiek153730
Hancock146829
Lyon145841
Allamakee145646
Iowa144423
Appanoose139147
Grundy139030
Jefferson138232
Winnebago138230
Cass134151
Calhoun133711
Mitchell130840
Louisa128241
Union126331
Chickasaw125213
Sac124218
Emmet121240
Shelby121033
Franklin118419
Humboldt117425
Guthrie116528
Palo Alto104921
Montgomery103936
Howard103121
Clarke100520
Unassigned9890
Keokuk98129
Monroe93128
Adair91928
Ida91032
Pocahontas85519
Davis82623
Monona81627
Greene77310
Lucas73821
Osceola70514
Worth6987
Taylor66412
Fremont5919
Decatur5789
Van Buren55918
Ringgold52020
Wayne48821
Audubon4869
Adams3264
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