Republicans hate Ilhan Omar because she doesn’t take any shit from old, murderous white men

America loves a feel-good story. How else to explain our government’s appetite for redemption arcs?

Elliott Abrams was once convicted of lying to Congress and on Wednesday, he got to testify before Congress again, this time in his capacity as our special envoy to Venezuela. But not everyone was happy to see him. Representative Ilhan Omar, a Democrat from Minnesota, questioned the former Assistant Secretary of State about his old misdeeds. “In 1991, you pleaded guilty to two counts of withholding information from Congress regarding your involvement in the Iran-Contra affair, for which you were later pardoned by President George H.W. Bush,” Omar began, before asking Abrams why the committee should believe anything he had to say.

A spluttering Abrams complained that Omar did not give him a chance to respond, but the congresswoman continued. “You dismissed as ‘communist propaganda’ reports about the massacre of El Mozote in which more than 800 civilians, including children as young as 2 years old, were brutally murdered by U.S.-trained troops,” she said. “You later said the U.S. policy in El Salvador was a ‘fabulous achievement.’ … Do you think that massacre was a ‘fabulous achievement?”

“From the day that President Duarte was elected in a free election, to this day,” Abrams responded, “El Salvador has been a democracy. That’s a fabulous achievement.” But Omar, as the Daily Beast reported on Wednesday, was not moved by Abrams’ answer. “Yes or no, do you think that massacre was a fabulous achievement? That happened under your watch.” Abrams told the congresswoman that her question was “ridiculous” and he “would not respond to it.”

Omar is right, of course. In 1993, a lengthy New York Times report detailed the dedication with which members of the Reagan administration defended their material support for El Salvador’s military, even though they knew some atrocity had occurred. The U.S. government’s role in the steady destabilization of El Salvador is not only directly pertinent to the question of Abrams’ suitability for his role, it is the subtext to a familiar piece of agitprop. Trump loves to stoke fear about immigrants, including many Salvadorans, who cross the southern border. Not only are the vast majority peaceful, they’re fleeing a violent political climate that we helped create.

How is it that Trump can lie so completely?

Today Trump made a public comment about his wall.

President Donald Trump promised Wednesday that a “big” and “strong” border wall is “very, very on its way,” even as Congress moved toward considering a Homeland Security spending bill that would provide for the construction of about 55 miles of new steel fencing.

“As we review the new proposal from Congress, I can promise you this: I will never waver from my sacred duty to defend this nation and its people,” Trump said in a speech to a conference of city and county sheriffs in Washington.

“It’s a wall that people aren’t going through very easy. You’d have to be in extremely good shape to get over this one. They would be able to climb Mt. Everest a lot easier, I think,” he said.

Every single word of that is a lie.  A really, really big lie.  Yet, Trump just rolls out these lies without even thinking about it.  Trump lies as readily as the rest of us take a breath.

Not content with playing golf every third day, Trump now installs a golf simulator in the White House

Fourth Wall. All those days of the shutdown got to Trump, because golfing in Florida had bad optics, so he needs something to do during Executive Time.

We saw an inkling of that when he retweeted swing tips. Why waste time parenting, or walking a dog. Too bad it’s not the Matrix, but a $50,000 simulator probably has at least one Trump course programmed on it. And he certainly didn’t want to use the one that PBO had installed, but the brand used at Trump golf courses.

Considering the average of $3 million per Florida golf trip, it could be spun as a bargain, even if there’s no simulated chocolate cake or simulated handbag designer to be awarded an ambassadorship.

President Trump has installed a room-sized “golf simulator” game at the White House, which allows him to play virtual rounds at courses all over the world by hitting a ball into a large video screen, @jdawsey1 and @Fahrenthold scoop: https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/president-trump-installed-a-room-sized-golf-simulator-at-white-house/2019/02/13/ed3f6d5c-2e45-11e9-813a-0ab2f17e305b_story.html?utm_term=.994df7192ca8 

But this winter, as Trump’s demand for a border wall triggered a month-long government shutdown, Trump stayed off the golf course for about 69 days, the longest such period of his presidency. Trump broke the streak on Feb. 2, playing with golf legends Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus at Trump’s course in Jupiter, Fla.

Trump complained to friends during the shutdown that he missed Mar-a-Lago and being at his Florida golf course.

[…]

That system offers choices: players can play on a digital copy of the famous St. Andrews course in Scotland, or on fictional courses made up just for the game. One offers the chance to play nine holes among “temples, volcanoes and dinosaur skeletons” in a South American jungle.

Players then hit a real ball into the screen, and sensors track the speed, spin and path of the ball. Then, the computer takes over. It transforms that real shot into a virtual one, and shows the ball soaring over fairways (or dinosaur skeletons) toward the hole.

When the digital ball rolls to a stop, the player resets with a real ball and smacks it into the screen again.

Republicans have nothing to offer people of color, so, they attack two minority women

Republicans took a beating in the 2018 midterms and are running out of strategies for success. This is why they’ve decided to leapfrog from targeting House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to targeting the newest members of Congress—specifically three very visible women of color: Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), and Ilhan Omar (D-MN).  As Politico notes, these women represent “a new trio of Democratic villains” for a very desperate GOP.

The GOP is right to be nervous. The last two election cycles resulted in people of color and women handing Democrats victories in some of the most unlikely of places and upending Republican strongholds in a number of districts. Though Donald Trump is their president, and they retain control of the Senate, Trump is wildly unpopular outside of his base. He continues to wreak havoc on the country, and women like Ocasio-Cortez, Tlaib, and Omar are unafraid to say so. Thus, they are hoping that fearmongering and obsessive coverage might encourage their base to cough up some dough to defeat Democrats in 2019 and 2020. That’s why the National Republican Congressional Committee has been sending out thousands of emails linking vulnerable Democrats to these new lawmakers. It is an overall lazy and racist strategy, but is unsurprising, especially to its targets.

Tlaib told POLITICO she’s become a lightning rod for conservatives because her profile isn’t one that has historically been seen in the halls of Congress.

“The fact that somebody like myself, who’s a woman of color, is now an equal to many of them — people are very fearful of that,” said the Michigan Democrat.

It’s also impossible to ignore how this strategy also revolves around stoking fears about the two new Muslim women in Congress, portraying them as wildly unpredictable. Earlier this week, Omar apologized after being slammed by Democrats for a tweet suggesting that “GOP support for Israel is driven by campaign donations from a prominent pro-Israel group [AIPAC].” This evoked reactions in many who believed it to be a reference to pervasive and ugly stereotypes about Jewish donors. The GOP pounced on this immediately as a possible fundraising opportunity.

NRCC officials spent the day blasting out emails attacking Omar, saying Pelosi and Democratic leaders had “put an anti-Semite” on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. “Ilhan Omar is the anti-Semite we thought she was,” read another post on the NRCC website.

And just last month, Tlaib was all over conservative media when she was seen on video, just after being sworn in, saying, “We’re gonna impeach the motherfucker!” in reference to Donald Trump. This comment received nonstop coverage on Fox News, becoming more important to them than the government shutdown and the migrant children locked up in cages and separated from their families, both thanks to this administration.

Both women acknowledge that their statements were mistakes. Omar apologized, saying that she desired to learn from the criticism and do better, while Tlaib said she wished not to say or do anything that was distracting for Democrats. They will both have to learn how to balance being their authentic selves with what their new jobs require. But no matter what, they’ll be targets for an increasingly old, male, and white party that fears the changing demographics that they represent.

Meanwhile, Fox just can’t get enough of Ocasio-Cortez. Everything about her is an object of attack for Republicans, including her policies, her looks, and her wardrobe. While the GOP is busy laughing at her desire to tackle climate change and calling her a socialist, Ocasio-Cortez is learning the ropes and developing relationships on Capitol Hill that are enabling her to get things done. According to Politico, “her plan to combat climate change has already been endorsed by roughly 70 House Democrats and a dozen Democratic senators, including four 2020 hopefuls.”

All of this is just further evidence that Republicans have little to nothing to offer anyone beyond a tiny homogenous group of people seeking to maintain gender and racial hegemony. They may raise some money from this attack strategy. But in the long term, attacking women of color isn’t going to be a tactic that gets them more votes. If we know one thing, though, it’s that they’ll keep it up, no matter what. America is changing, and sadly, they refuse to change with it.