It would be easier to let it go when Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) utters her barbed inanities. They don’t mean that much in the great scheme of things. But Robert Spencer raises a valid point at PJ Media in an article on Tuesday about Omar’s latest comment. Wouldn’t it be pretty much treason to suggest American targets for Iran to attack?
Spencer quotes from an Omar tweet on Monday morning:
Trump needs to immediately divest from his businesses and comply with the emoluments clause. Iran could threaten Trump hotels *worldwide* and he could provoke war over the loss of revenue from skittish guests.
His business interests should not be driving military decisions.
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) January 6, 2020
“Trump needs to immediately divest from his businesses and comply with the emoluments clause,” Omar asserts. “Iran could threaten Trump hotels *worldwide* and he could provoke war over the loss of revenue from skittish guests. His business interests should not be driving military decisions.”
Spencer does note that Trump’s business interests clearly are not driving military decisions: “Omar’s warning that Trump’s ‘business interests should not be driving military decisions’ makes no sense, because clearly the fact that Trump owns hotels that Iran could target didn’t stop him from going after Qasem Soleimani.”
But he also points out that there is no evidence the Iranians had already thought of threatening or attacking Trump’s hotels, and Omar is raising such a scenario as a possibility in order to shape policy thinking.
It might be one thing for random Twitter users to speak of the same possibility. There’s nothing to be done about the public having brainstorming fits. But Omar is a U.S. representative giving every appearance of suggesting a targeting scenario to Iran. “Threaten Trump hotels; cause a loss of revenue for Trump; create incentives or disincentives for him to behave in certain ways” – that would be the gist of the scenario. The ultimate outcome could certainly include “attacking Trump hotels.” Since that could be done with a level of anonymity, or at least plausible deniability, it could seem like a good idea to Iran even if the goal weren’t getting credit for the attack.
Spencer asks, “How is giving them a suggestion about how they could target the United States, whether or not they have or would have thought of it themselves, not giving aid and comfort to the enemy, and hence treason?”
It doesn’t seem consonant with Omar’s oath as a U.S. official.
“Inviting, out of a hysterical hostility to the president of the United States, a nation that regularly chants ‘Death to America’ to strike American-owned businesses,” writes Spencer “– is that supporting and defending the nation against foreign enemies?”
At the very least, it seems like one more reason to ask questions about Omar’s loyalties. It’s not as simple as implying she must be loyal to Iran. That kind of reductionist proposition is simplistic and absurd, like seeing “Putin” behind everything Trump does. But suggesting scenarios in which a foreign enemy could discombobulate the president by targeting American businesses is hard to read as loyalty to America.