Trump Bashes Minnesota’s Somali Immigrants

Trump Bashes Minnesota’s Somali Immigrants

(Photo: Flickr/Lorie Shaull)

Somali-American candidate for Minnesota State Representative, Ilhan Omar speaking at a Hillary for MN event at the University of Minnesota in October. 

Less than 72 hours before Election Day, Donald Trump decided to hold an airport rally in the safely blue state of Minnesota. Why? Apparently, to bash the 70,000 Somali immigrants who have sought refuge, and put down roots, in the state.

“Here in Minnesota, you’ve seen first-hand the problems caused with faulty refugee vetting, with very large numbers of Somali refugees coming into your state without your knowledge, without your support or approval and with some of them then joining ISIS and spreading their extremist views all over our country and all over the world,” Trump said on Sunday, as he preached the need for his policy of so-called extreme vetting of refugees.

Trump was clearly trying to exploit isolated incidents within Minnesota’s Somali American community, like the arrests of nine Somali youth who were charged for intending to go to Syria to join ISIS in 2014, or the knife attack by a Somali man in central Minnesota in September.

“Everybody’s reading about the disaster taking place in Minnesota,” he declared. “You don’t even have the right to talk about it.”

Indeed, Trump was so busy trying to stoke fear and xenophobia as a voter-turnout strategy that he forgot to mention the 1,000 Somali workers who help make the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport, where he was speaking, function. Nor did he mention the nearly 3,000 mostly East African–owned businesses in the state or the estimated $800 million annual buying power of the African immigrant community in the Twin Cities alone, as ThinkProgress points out.

Perhaps most conveniently of all, he also forgot to mention that Ilhan Omar—who fled violence in Somalia, toiled in refugee camps, and was eventually accepted into the United States as a refugee—is about to become the nation’s first Somali American legislator. After beating a longtime incumbent in the Democratic-Farmer-Labor (Minnesota’s Democratic Party) primary, she is all but certain to be elected as the state representative for a Minneapolis district that includes the state’s largest Somali refugee community.

Omar blasted Trump for his bigoted rhetoric in a Facebook post: