Rep. Ilhan Omar said that she’s “controversial” only because “people seem to want the controversy”, reacting to the outrage over a resurfaced video in which she appeared to compare migrant detention centers to the slave trade, Fox News informed.
The Minnesota Democrat’s remarks came during an appearance on CBS News’ “Face the Nation” with Margaret Brennan. On the question whether Omar was indeed making that comparison in the video, Omar answered, “I’m only controversial because people seem to want the controversy.”
The footage, published by a Republican National Committee Twitter account Saturday, featured Omar talking with a group about her recent trip to Ghana. She revealed that she visited a 400-year-old dungeon where Africans were held captive and separated by gender.
She stated that the description of the dungeon by her tour guide reminded her of the images she’d seen of Libya, where a slave trade has been ongoing – and pictures she’d seen of migrant detention camps in the U.S.
“And so, of a story that happened 400 years ago, I constantly had this reminder, this horrifying image of many of the things that were taking place there in that dungeon, now taking place, whether it is taking place in the shores of North Africa or in the shores of the United States,” Omar said.
However, Omar later stated that she meant for the two comparisons to be treated separately.
“There is always an implied intent with every conversation I have,” she said, “and if you listen to the video, one comparison of what the dungeons looked like and people being sold was to what’s happening in North Africa, and the other one was of family separations.”
“And, of course, we obviously have a crisis here with our family separation policies,” Omar continued.
Asked whether her comments were a direct attack on U.S. border agents, she said: “Absolutely not.”