Republican Texas Rep. Dan Crenshaw responded to Democratic Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota on Friday after the duo criticized him for taking offense to Omar’s description of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
“It’s terrorists who killed almost 3,000 Americans — we should talk about it that way,” Crenshaw told NBC News. “We should talk about it with deference.”
Omar delivered the keynote speech at a fundraiser for the Council on American-Islamic Relations on March 23, where she was recorded describing the Sept. 11 attacks as merely an event where “some people did something.”
After the Texas Republican replied that it is “unbelievable” that a member of Congress would describe “terrorists who killed thousands of Americans” in such a manner, Omar called on leaders of both parties to join her in “condemning” Crenshaw’s “dangerous incitement.”
“All Rep. Omar had to do was explain herself,” Crenshaw said. “Say whatever she wants. Say she didn’t mean it … diffuse the situation, but don’t double down, all right? Don’t play the victim card and don’t start making accusations of me — I just think that was uncalled for.”
Ocasio-Cortez immediately came to Omar’s defense and accused the former Navy SEAL of not properly supporting 9/11 victims and first responders.
“You refuse to cosponsor the 9/11 Victim’s Compensation Fund, yet have the audacity to drum resentment towards Ilhan w/completely out-of-context quotes,” Ocasio-Cortez responded to Crenshaw. “In 2018, right-wing extremists were behind almost ALL US domestic terrorist killings. Why don’t you go do something about that?”
Ocasio-Cortez also said Omar has “done more for 9/11 families than the GOP” and that Republicans are “happy to weaponize (Omar’s) faith.”
“It was not taken out of context, by the way, there are a lot of claims that it was — of course, it wasn’t. I think everyone should just look at the clip and decide for themselves,” Crenshaw said. “I don’t think it’s out of line to simply call that out and criticize it.”
“This is the height of partisanship — when we can’t just come together and properly assume that we should not diminish the acts of 9/11 by saying things like ‘some people did something,’” he continued. “That’s not what happened, and we should come together and take note of that.”
Crenshaw also expressed his disappointment in the members of Congress who are “trying to deflect attention from Omar by attacking (him), claiming that (he is) not for 9/11 first responders.”
“This is a really dishonest attack, and let me tell you how I am for 9/11 victims and 9/11 first responders. I’m the guy who went overseas to make sure this never happens again, to take the fight to the enemy that committed these attacks,” he said.
“I would go back and do it every day if I could. So to say that kind of attack, that is the height of partisanship and I’m really disappointed in them saying that.”
Crenshaw served five deployments overseas — while on his third combat tour, he was hit by an IED blast during a mission in Afghanistan that destroyed his right eye and badly injured his left one. After multiple surgeries, Crenshaw retained sight in his left eye and went on to deploy two more times.