Ilhan Omar says Trump should resign for downplaying coronavirus

Rep. Ilhan Omar beats back Democratic primary challenge in Minnesota

Rep. Ilhan Omar defeats her Democratic primary challenger attorney Antone Melton-Meaux; Fox News Congressional correspondent Chad Pergram reports.

Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., re-upped her calls for President Trump to resign from office over new reporting that he downplayed the seriousness of the coronavirus in public while telling journalist Bob Woodward in February he knew it was "deadly" and far worse than the flu.

Omar, one of the members of the freshman Squad, said Trump's "lies" have cost American lives and he needs to leave office.

"Over and over again, Donald Trump downplayed the threat of COVID-19 — all while knowing how dangerous it was," Omar tweeted. "Almost 200,000 people have paid the price for his lies with their lives. If he refuses to resign, we will vote him out."

Omar referenced a tweet from Trump in March where the president pointed out how the common flu had killed more people than the coronavirus and implied that the economy should go on.

"So last year 37,000 Americans died from the common Flu," Trump tweeted. "It averages between 27,000 and 70,000 per year. Nothing is shut down, life & the economy go on. At this moment there are 546 confirmed cases of CoronaVirus, with 22 deaths. Think about that!"

This week, passages of Woodward's forthcoming book were released that showed Trump spoke seriously of the virus during his taped interviews with the Washington Post journalist.

Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., speaks before introducing Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., at a campaign rally in Springfield, Va., Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

“You just breathe the air and that’s how it’s passed,” Trump said in a Feb. 7 call with Woodard. “And so that’s a very tricky one. That’s a very delicate one. It’s also more deadly than even your strenuous flus.”

“This is deadly stuff,” the president repeated in the interview.


Trump Thursday said he didn't want to panic the country.

“I want to show a level of confidence and I want to show strength as a leader,” Trump told reporters Thursday. “There was no lie here, what we’re doing here is leading and we’re leading in the proper way.”

“I don’t want to jump up and down and shout ‘death, death’” he added. “I have to lead a country.”

Omar first called for Trump to resign in November 2019 during the House impeachment investigation of Trump's efforts to have Ukraine interfere in the presidential election by launching investigations into Joe and Hunter Biden. The Senate voted to acquit Trump on the two articles of impeachment in February.

"The President of the United States broke our laws and betrayed our country," Omar tweeted in November. "He needs to resign."

Trump has repeatedly ridiculed Omar and called for her resignation in March 2019 for comments she made that were panned as anti-Semitic. Omar apologized for her tweets at the time where she suggested politicians' support for Israel was motivated by money.


“Anti-Semitism has no place in the United States Congress,” Trump told reporters at the time.

“I think she should either resign from Congress or she should certainly resign from the foreign affairs committee.”

Omar responded that she's learned from her words and called on Trump to do the same.

"You have trafficked in hate your whole life—against Jews, Muslims, Indigenous, immigrants, black people and more," Omar said. "I learned from people impacted by my words. When will you?"

Fox News' Andrew O'Reilly contributed to this report. 

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