Representative Greg Murphy, a North Carolina Republican, received backlash after he invoked the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, in a since-deleted Twitter response to Democratic Representative Ilhan Omar‘s condolences over the death of a Capitol Police officer after the Friday attack targeting the U.S. Capitol.
Omar, who is Muslim and represents Minnesota, has routinely faced Islamophobic and racist attacks since she became one of the first two Muslim women elected to Congress back in 2018. Memes and baseless conspiracy theories have circulated widely within right-wing circles falsely connecting her to Islamist terrorist groups and suggesting that she was somehow associated with the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
“Heartbroken to learn another CP was killed while protecting the Capitol. My thoughts and prayers go out to the officer’s family and the entire Capitol Police force. The death toll would have been worse if the assailant had an AR-15 instead of a knife,” Omar tweeted on Friday after the attack.
On Saturday, Murphy responded to her post, writing: “Would have been worse @Ilhan if they had been flying planes into the buildings also.” Although the tweet has since been deleted, local media in North Carolina published screenshots on Sunday.
North Carolina state Senator Jeff Jackson, a Democrat, criticized Murphy’s post.
“You just invoked Sept. 11 to attack a Muslim member of Congress. I knew you a little when you were in the state legislature. This is well beneath you. It doesn’t matter how strongly you disagree with her on policy, you should represent our state better than this, @RepGregMurphy,” Jackson wrote.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations called out the comment from Murphy as well. “CAIR #Islamophobia Watch: #NorthCarolina Rep. #GregMurphy is facing criticism after tagging Muslim congresswoman @Ilhan Omar in a now-deleted tweet invoking the September 11th terror attacks,” the civil rights advocacy organization tweeted.
Twitter user Hassan Baami wrote: “When Islamophobia meets arrogance, we get Rep Greg Murphy !!”
“Every time the GOP hits rock bottom they go dig another hole,” Twitter user Craig Harrington wrote, sharing a screenshot of Murphy’s response to Omar.
Newsweek reached out press representatives for Omar and Murphy but did not immediately receive responses.
Omar, who was born in Somalia, came to the U.S. as an asylum seeker in 1995. She then became a U.S. citizen in 2000 at the age of 17. In July 2019, former President Donald Trump targeted Omar and three other progressive Democratic congresswomen of color in a racist tweet, suggesting they should “go back” to their countries.
The three other congresswomen—Representatives Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan—were all born in the U.S. The Democrat-controlled House of Representatives, joined by four Republicans and one conservative independent, voted to condemn Trump’s remarks as racist following that attack.
Murphy previously posted a racist tweet targeting Vice President Kamala Harris prior to the November election. In that post the Republican lawmaker wrote: “@KamalaHarris is a walking disaster…she was only picked for her color and her race…is that how we pick our leaders now in America?? QT @Mike_Pence.” He later deleted that post as well.