Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis on Tuesday called for the House to expel Democratic Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar over a footage of her speaking in Somali in which she allegedly promised to prioritize the interests of Mogadishu and backed the territorial aspirations of the Somali government.
“Expel from Congress, denaturalize and deport!” DeSantis posted on X, resharing the video footage. The original video was posted by the account of the Ambassador at Large of the Republic of Somaliland and included a translation of Omar’s remarks, the interpretation of which Omar has disputed.
“Ethiopia and Kenya have stolen and continue to occupy the Somali Region state, which belong to Somalia… We will liberate the occupied territories stolen from i.e. Somalia, Djibouti, Somaliland, and the North Eastern Province (in Kenya) that belong to Greater Somalia,” she allegedly said. “For as long as I am in the US Congress, Somalia will never be in danger, its waters (Indian Ocean) will not be stolen by Ethiopia or others. The US would not dare to support anyone against Somalia to steal our land or oceans. Sleep in comfort, knowing I am here to protect the interests of Somalia from inside the US system.”
Somaliland is a breakaway state within officially Somalian territory which borders loosely corresponding to the former British colony of the same name. Omar, for her part, insisted the translation was inaccurate and a propaganda attempt.
“It’s not only slanted but completely off, but I wouldn’t expect more from these propagandists,” she posted, in reference to the video. “I pray for them and for their sanity. No nation state can survive if its states start to get involved in land lease negotiations with other countries without the consent of the federal government. Somalis in Somalia and in the diaspora are united in that effort and I stand in solidarity with them. No amount of harassment and lies will ever change that.”
DeSantis, for his part, is not the only lawmaker to call for her expulsion from the House and repatriation to Somalia. Earlier this week, Georgia GOP Rep. Mike Collins suggested a similar course of action, saying on the “Just the News, No Noise” television show that “we’ve already gotten rid of one member of Congress this year, [I] would be in full support or getting rid of another one. And that would be her.”
“You know, my advice to her is if she wants to be a part of that government, go back to Somalia and sign up or whatever form of government they have. But when you’re here, and you’re in the United States of America, especially when you’re a representative in Congress, this is America First,” he also said.