Never to be outdone by its own bigotry, the GOP went peak GOP again.
NBC News reports that chaos ensued upon the discovery of an anti-Muslim poster disparaging Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar in the West Virginia statehouse on Friday.
While chairs reportedly weren’t thrown and assess deservedly weren’t whooped, a rash of arguments did occur, as did a reported physical injury (does this qualify as White-on-White violence?). Oh, and an official resigned after being accused of making anti-Muslim comments.
But as far as the poster in question? Welllllllll...
The display featured a picture of the World Trade Center in New York City as a fireball exploded from the one of the Twin Towers, set above a picture of Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar, who is Muslim.
“’Never forget’ - you said. . .” read a caption on the first picture. “I am the proof - you have forgotten,” read the caption under the picture of Omar, who is wearing a hijab.
And if you guessed that the GOP were the masterminds behind the poster, welllllll...
The display was set up as part of “WV GOP Day,” which the party advertised on Facebook as a day when “Republicans Take the Rotunda.”
Several Democrats objected to the display, and reportedly got into an argument with the House’s sergeant at arms, Anne Lieberman, after she allegedly made an anti-Muslim remark.
Del. Mike Angelucci, D-Marion, charged Lieberman had said “all Muslims are terrorists.”
He said that was “hate speech.”
“Muslims are not terrorists. Christians have killed people. That doesn’t mean Christians are terrorists. I am a Christian. I am a proud Christian. I am not a terrorist,” he said, according to WSAZ.
Rep. Omar took to Twitter to voice her concerns about the display.
“No wonder why I am on the ‘Hitlist’ of a domestic terrorist and ‘Assassinate Ilhan Omar’ is written on my local gas stations,” she tweeted. “Look no further, the GOP’s anti-Muslim display likening me to a terrorist rocks in state capitols and no one is condemning them!”
The outrage spilled on the House floor, where Del. Mike Pushkin—a Democrat—refused to take his foot off of the GOP’s neck.
“It’s ugly, it’s hateful and there’s absolutely no place for it in American politics,” Pushkin said, according to WVNews. “Not in the country that I love. Not in the state that I love. We all give up our time during this time of year to come up here and serve our constituents because we love this state. Well, I love everybody in the state no matter what they look like, who they pray to, who they love. I’m tired of it. It disgusts me.”
In an attempt to quell the outrage, House Speaker Roger Hanshaw issued a statement announcing an investigation into what happened.
“As we began today’s floor session, we had a series of incidents occur in and outside of our Chamber that absolutely do not reflect the character and civility the people of this state demand of their public servants,” the statement said. “Leadership of the House of Delegates is currently working to investigate these incidents to learn firsthand the factual basis of what occurred, and will respond with appropriate action. The West Virginia House of Delegates unequivocally rejects hate in all of its forms.”
West Virginia Republican Party Chairwoman Melody Potter issued a statement as well:
“The West Virginia Republican Party does not approve, condone, or support hate speech,” the statement says. “One of the exhibitors at our West Virginia Republican Party Day at the Capitol displayed a sign that we did not approve, were not aware of before the day started, and we do not support. Upon learning about the sign, we immediately asked this exhibitor to remove the sign.
Our Party supports freedom of speech, but we do not endorse speech that advances intolerant and hateful views. We have shown that when West Virginians are united, when we respect each other, embrace our differences and focus on moving our state forward what we can accomplish.”
Did West Virginia come with a reset button?