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.

Confirmed Cases: 40163

Reported Deaths: 1528
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin12867789
Ramsey5066230
Dakota252494
Stearns244819
Anoka2328111
Nobles16766
Olmsted119617
Washington119040
Mower9722
Rice8628
Scott8034
Clay59838
Kandiyohi5841
Blue Earth5352
Wright5055
Carver4331
Todd4022
Sherburne3405
Lyon3312
Freeborn3020
Watonwan2420
Steele2401
Benton2283
St. Louis20316
Nicollet18712
Martin1715
Cottonwood1380
Goodhue1378
Winona13315
Le Sueur1171
Pine1110
Crow Wing10812
Chisago1031
Otter Tail1021
McLeod960
Dodge930
Carlton890
Polk863
Unassigned8438
Chippewa791
Isanti780
Waseca730
Itasca6812
Douglas670
Murray670
Pipestone664
Meeker621
Morrison611
Faribault600
Becker570
Jackson570
Sibley562
Pennington530
Beltrami410
Brown392
Renville372
Mille Lacs342
Wabasha340
Rock310
Yellow Medicine310
Fillmore300
Houston290
Swift251
Grant220
Norman210
Redwood210
Wilkin213
Cass192
Roseau190
Big Stone170
Koochiching171
Kanabec161
Wadena160
Aitkin150
Marshall120
Pope120
Lincoln110
Clearwater100
Mahnomen101
Hubbard80
Stevens80
Lake60
Traverse60
Lac qui Parle40
Red Lake40
Kittson20
Cook10
Lake of the Woods00

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 33162

Reported Deaths: 740
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk6990182
Woodbury328243
Black Hawk239759
Buena Vista172711
Johnson13848
Linn134183
Dallas133031
Marshall106819
Scott92610
Dubuque83422
Story8254
Pottawattamie78012
Wapello71231
Muscatine68344
Crawford6793
Sioux4930
Tama47829
Wright3891
Louisa36313
Plymouth3365
Jasper33217
Warren3001
Dickinson2853
Webster2844
Washington2489
Cerro Gordo2231
Hamilton1931
Boone1601
Clay1431
Clarke1403
Allamakee1354
Clinton1211
Mahaska11817
Shelby1180
Poweshiek1088
Carroll1041
Pocahontas1041
Bremer1027
Franklin990
Des Moines952
Emmet920
Henry903
Hardin880
Cedar851
Cherokee811
Taylor810
Monona770
Marion750
Floyd742
Benton721
Guthrie724
Jones680
Sac650
Osceola640
Iowa621
Jefferson620
Buchanan611
Butler602
Humboldt591
Calhoun582
Hancock571
Harrison560
Delaware541
Fayette540
Lee542
Madison512
Monroe517
Jackson480
Lyon480
Clayton473
Mills460
Palo Alto460
Mitchell430
Winneshiek430
Davis421
Grundy420
Kossuth390
Howard370
Union370
Lucas324
Winnebago310
Chickasaw290
Greene290
Cass270
Ida230
Unassigned220
Appanoose213
Van Buren210
Worth210
Keokuk201
Page200
Adair160
Audubon161
Ringgold151
Decatur120
Montgomery112
Wayne100
Adams80
Fremont80
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