Trump repeated an unfounded claim that freshman lawmaker Ilhan Omar married her brother to sneak him into the US

C-SPANPresident Donald Trump took questions from reporters on Wednesday.
  • President Donald Trump on Wednesday repeated an unverified rumour than Rep. Ilhan Omar married her brother to get him entry into the US.
  • “There’s a lot of talk about the fact that she was married to her brother. I know nothing about it,” Trump said in response to a question from the right-wing outlet OANN.
  • The claim that Omar’s second husband, Ahmed Nur Said Elmi, is her brother was first made by the US conservative blog Power Line in 2016, citing claims made on a Somali political forum.
  • Omar referred to the claim as “disgusting lies” in October.
  • Omar and three other congresswoman of colour were told to “go back” to their “crime infested” countries by Trump on Sunday, triggering a nationwide backlash. Of the four congresswomen, only Omar, a refugee from Somalia, was born outside the US.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

President Donald Trump on Wednesday repeated an unverified claim that Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota married her brother to secure his entry to the US.

Trump, asked about the rumour by a reporter from the right-wing network OANN, said: “There’s a lot of talk about the fact that she was married to her brother.”

“I know nothing about it,” he added. “I hear she was married to her brother.”

“You’re asking me a question about it. I don’t know, but I’m sure that somebody will be looking at that,” Trump said before heading to a rally in Greenville, North Carolina.

Omar called the claims “absurd and offensive” in 2016 and referred to them as “disgusting lies” last October.

The claim that Ahmed Nur Said Elmi was actually Omar’s brother first gained traction in the US in 2016 after a post by the conservative blog “Power Line,” which pounced on allegations made on Somali Spot, a politics forum in the country of Omar’s birth, Somalia.

Omar was running for Minnesota’s state legislature at the time, and she was elected successfully.

Ilhan omarGettyRep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota.

Omar was granted a divorce from Elmi in 2017, but the claim resurfaced when Omar ran for Congress in 2018, and a website set up by Republican Party members in Minnesota’s 5th District stated:

“Divorcing a husband isn’t usually a major topic of interest for the general public. However, when the husband of this state lawmaker was alleged to have been Omar’s brother, the voters should seek the truth.”

Read more:
Trump supporters chant ‘send her back’ as the president attacks Ilhan Omar at rally in North Carolina

From left, Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass.J. Scott Applewhite/AP ImagesReps. Rashida Tlaib, Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Ayanna Pressley.

Omar, one of the first two Muslim women to serve in Congress, immigrated to the US as a refugee and became a US citizen when she was 17.

Read more:
Weeks of Democratic infighting between Nancy Pelosi and ‘the Squad’ preceded Trump’s racist tweet attacks

Omar was among four congresswomen of colour who Trump on Sunday told to “go back” to their “corrupt” and “crime infested” countries. Of the four, only Omar was born outside the US.

Trump on Tuesday rejected the notion the tweet was racist, saying he didn’t have a “racist bone” in his body.

Read more:
Republican silence on Trump’s racist tweets shows how fearful they have become of defying him and losing voters

Trump has said the four lawmakers – Reps. Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ayanna Presley of Massachusetts, and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan – “hate” America and should leave the country.

Ilhan omar donald trump alexandria ocasio-cortezGetty/Lars Niki, AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, Associated PressOmar, Trump, and Ocasio-Cortez.

After repeating the claim Omar was related to her ex-husband, Trump told another reporter he’s “winning the political argument” against the four lawmakers, known as “the Squad.”

Of the claims, the independent fact-checking website Snopes wrote: “We found no public records or credible sources contradicting Omar’s account of her past, nor any substantive evidence corroborating claims that Elmi is her brother or that their marriage was otherwise fraudulent. In addition, some of the claims offered in support of the rumour don’t seem to add up.”

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.