Rep. Ilhan Omar called for dismantling economic and political systems that serve as a “system of oppression.”
The Minnesota Democrat said Tuesday that most conversations around police brutality and racial injustice do not go far enough in their call for change.
“We can’t stop at criminal justice reform or policing reform,” she said during an outdoor press conference. “We are not merely fighting to tear down the systems of oppression in the criminal justice system. We are fighting to tear down systems of oppression that exist in housing, in education, in health care, in employment, [and] in the air we breathe.”
Omar said it was time to “guarantee homes for all” due to racial disparities in homeownership. She said that homeownership rates are nearly twice as high for White families as they are for Black families.
She also promoted the Green New Deal “because we know that environmental racism is real.”
“As long as our economy and political systems prioritize profit without considering who is profiting, who is being shut out, we will perpetuate this inequality,” the progressive Squad member continued. “So we cannot stop at [the] criminal justice system. We must begin the work of dismantling the whole system of oppression wherever we find it.”
President Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr. asked if Biden agreed with Omar’s proposition. “Does @joebiden agree with his supporter @ilhanmn that we need to dismantle the United States economy and political system?” Trump Jr. tweeted.
“Does our education system know it has failed you?” Omar shot back. “Your level of comprehension is such an embarrassment to our country, maybe someone can offer you free English classes.”
Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tennessee, called on Omar to resign over her remarks.
"Ilhan Omar took an oath to defend and protect the Constitution, not shred it," Blackburn said on Twitter. "Omar and her Marxist comrades are a threat to our Democracy. Omar should resign."
Omar held the press conference in Minnesota along with leaders from the Minnesota People of Color and Indigenous Caucus.
Omar has joined calls of local progressive politicians to dismantle the Minneapolis Police Department in the wake of George Floyd’s death, calling it “rotten to the root.”
“A new way forward can’t be put in place if we have a department that is having a crisis of credibility, if we have a department that’s led by a chief who’s suited for racism, if we have a department that hasn’t solved half of the homicides,” Omar said on CNN’s “State of the Union” in mid-June. “And so, you can’t really form a department that is rotten to the root. What you can do is rebuild.”
Minneapolis’ City Council members last week announced a veto-proof push to disband the city’s police department. On Friday, the council passed a resolution to start crafting a new model of public safety with the community’s input, without delving into many specifics.
Asked by host Jake Tapper to clarify her position, Omar said the “conversation” has been misconstrued.
“No one is saying that the community is not going to be kept safe. No one is saying crimes will not be investigated. No one is saying that we are not going to have a proper response when community members are in danger,” she said. “What we are saying is the current infrastructure that exists as policing in our city should not exist anymore and we can’t go about creating a different process with the same infrastructure in place.”