Why Trump Won’t Stop Talking About Ilhan Omar

tags: Republican Party, Trump, Ilhan Omar

Based in Charlottesville, Va., and Washington, Jamelle Bouie became a New York Times Opinion columnist in 2019. Before that he was the chief political correspondent for Slate magazine. Mr. Bouie, who is a political analyst for CBS News, has been a staff writer at The Daily Beast and has held fellowships at The American Prospect and The Nation magazine. You can follow him on Twitter.

It’s still common to hear analysts speak of the “Trumpification” of the Republican Party — the extent to which it has adopted the attitude and ethos of the sitting president.

But this phrasing assumes discontinuity between past and present, as if there weren’t antecedents to Donald Trump in the recent Republican past. The actual relationship between Trump and the Republican Party is more psychological. Trump is the Republican id personified, driven to express the impulses and desires of conservative politics in their basest form.

That dynamic has been on clear display for the past few days, as the president of the United States leads a campaign of racist demagoguery against Representative Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, a Somali-American Democrat and one of the first Muslim women elected to Congress.

The pretext for this attack was Omar’s remarks last month at a fund-raiser for the Council on American-Islamic Relations. Omar talked about several issues but her major theme was prejudice against Muslim Americans.

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