Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., discussed impeachment and the 2020 presidential election at the Jack Morton Auditorium Wednesday.
Omar, who was elected to the House of Representatives in 2018, spoke about endorsing Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., in the 2020 Democratic primary for president and her thoughts about whether the Senate could vote to remove President Donald Trump from office. Omar was joined by Academy Award-winning director Michael Moore at a live taping of The Intercept’s “Deconstructed” podcast, hosted by British journalist Mehdi Hasan.
The podcast episode, “How to Resist,” primarily focused on fighting “Trumpism,” a term used by some commentators to encapsulate the president’s policies and rhetoric.
In case you missed it, here are some of the highlights:
1. Impeaching Trump
Omar said she hopes the House’s impeachment inquiry into Trump will result in a Senate vote to remove him from office.
“What we are trying to do is pressure people in the House to do the right thing,” she said. “Most of these people aren’t driven by conviction, they are driven by their need to keep their seat.”
Democratic leaders initiated the impeachment inquiry after Trump allegedly asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden, in exchange for aid.
Omar also discussed Trump’s tweet earlier this week comparing the impeachment probe to lynching – a violent and racist practice that the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People estimates caused the deaths of nearly 3,500 black Americans. She said Trump used the word to signal to far-right white nationalists.
“Our president understands the way in which his words incite particular people to act in ways that are not in mind with the values we have,” Omar said. “I believe he’s constantly feeding white supremacists. That’s why he’s using that word.”
2. Endorsing Sanders
Omar said last year on the same podcast that she was excited about the candidacy of Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., but said she ultimately endorsed Sanders’ candidacy last week alongside Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., because she aligned with his core values.
“There are people who are easy to believe in, and I was reminded that Bernie is one of those people,” she said.
Moore, who has also endorsed Sanders for president, said he did so because the candidate has “never changed” or betrayed his progressive values since he first ran for the House in 1990.
“He’s never sold out, he’s never gone back on his word,” Moore said. “He’s never let people down and he’s never cashed in the way that so many politicians do.”
3. Looking to the 2020 election
Moore said “now is not the time” for the public or politicians to become “exhausted” of fighting Trump and his rhetoric. He said the public needs to address the systems that contributed to Trump’s election in 2016, like the Electoral College and an economy that has left certain groups of people behind.
“It’s not just getting rid of Trump, it’s getting rid of that which gave us Trump,” he said.
Omar added that people are “actively engaging” more in democracy, which could shift the outcome of the 2020 presidential election.
“It’s important for us to realize we are here today because we’ve been complacent in a system that did not work for us,” Omar said. “As long as we are no longer willing to be complacent, we are going to have the America we deserve.”