In an exclusive interview with CBN News Tuesday, US Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas) defended his reaction to Minnesota Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar after she called 9/11 an event in which "some people did something."
Crenshaw and others had condemned Omar's statement delivered during a speech at a CAIR meeting in March.
"I saw it shared on social media and my first reaction was: What really, again?" the first-term Texas congressman said. "This is a pattern, right. This is not a case of someone misspeaking at a certain point. I think it's obvious that she feels a certain way about terrorism, about 9/11 in particular. And I don't want to attribute motivations, but it was dismissive. The way she referred to it was dismissive."
But Crenshaw was careful not to endorse the implication that some have made that Omar supports terrorism.
"I don't think she supports any kind of terrorism or anything like that, " he told CBN News. "But she did speak about it in a dismissive and disrespectful way. I clearly pointed that out. I said 'Hey, that's unbelievable. Why would you talk about it this way? If you are going to talk about it and you feel like you misspoke, then say you misspoke. But she doesn't. She doubles down. Maybe because she's perfectly fine with the way that came off."
The congressman also pointed to Omar's history of her repeated anti-Semitic and anti-Israel comments.
"If you're criticizing Israel, but you're doing it in a way that implies that the Jewish people in America have a dual loyalty, that's anti-Semitism. It's more than just criticizing Israeli policy. It's OK to criticize Israeli policy. It's OK to say whatever you want. It's a free country. And it's also OK for the rest of us to say 'We don't like what you're saying.' That's actually our job as members of Congress.”
Crenshaw said these types of comments should be called out.
"Nothing was taken out of context. That is a narrative being perpetuated, which is truly dishonest. And notice nobody can ever explain how it was taken out of context," he noted. "They'll say, 'Well she's explaining how CAIR was founded.' Well, first of all, she got that wrong. She said CAIR was founded after 9/11 and that's just not true. It was founded in 1994. So that's not even true from the beginning."
The freshman congressman says the left generally uses a sequence of events to try to cover up comments such as Omar's and to distract from the narrative.
"First, they accused me of being against 9/11 victims. They made up some nonsense about refusing to support a bill, by the way, that's not even out of committee. It has nothing to do with the other thing. Of all of the people you're going to choose in Congress to say you didn't support America after 9/11 -- you're going to choose me?" Crenshaw, a former Navy SEAL, asked. "I went and fought against the people that perpetuated that crime and made sure they never did it again. It's kind of a strange accusation to make."
“And then the next accusation they tried to make was 'well, you're only attacking her because she's a Muslim woman.' And that's nonsense," he added. "You're a member of Congress and a member of Congress who, by the way, is constantly elevating your status, saying 'I should have a better voice because of these things.' OK, but you can't go in the opposite direction and say 'you're not allowed to talk to me or criticize me because of my identity.' That's a really weak argument and that indicates you don't have a strong set of ideas in the first place that you can defend.”
"Then they got even worse after that. They said we were 'inciting violence.' So criticizing you is inciting violence -- this is the argument that's being used," Crenshaw explained. "That's a real dangerous path to go and is also something we see quite often. You see it on college campuses all the time that any conservative speaker is inciting violence. It's fundamentally not true. Telling people to go do violent things that's inciting violence, right? That's illegal by the way.”
"But criticizing for something they said is never inciting violence," the congressman told CBN News. "To say otherwise is wholly dishonest. I think most Americans know that. But what's been impressive about this is that every Democrat has jumped on that particular narrative like telling the president to stop inciting violence. The president just tweeted out her own words and said 'Never Forget.' In no way, shape or form is that inciting violence. You could make all sorts of criticisms about it. You could maybe say it was over the top."
"But to say it was inciting violence is an attempt to take an intellectual shortcut. It's an attempt to silence your critics by claiming that they're being violent against you when in fact, they're not. It's a shame to see so many sophisticated people jump on that bandwagon. Again to come around full circle on this and believe it and use that narrative. It's really sad to see. It's not a good place for American discourse," Crenshaw continued.