Friday November 29, 2019
Ilhan Omar introduces Bernie Sanders at a rally in Minneapolis earlier this month. Photograph: Evan Frost/AP
A campaign account for Danielle Stella, a pro-Trump Republican candidate for Congress, was banned from Twitter after it published a violent comment about the Democrat she hopes to unseat next year, Minnesota representative Ilhan Omar.
Stella’s campaign Twitter account, @2020MNCongress, featured at least two posts involving the idea of Omar being hanged, according to the Washington Times, which broke the story of her suspension.
The tweets concerned an unsubstantiated allegation that Omar – one of the first Muslim women elected to Congress – shared sensitive information with Qatar, which then wound up with Iran.
A spokesperson for Omar previously told the Jerusalem Post of the claim: “Since the day she was elected, Saudi Arabian trolls and mouthpieces have targeted Omar with misinformation and conspiracy theories.”
An initial tweet from Stella’s campaign account reportedly said: “If it is proven [Omar] passed sensitive info to Iran, she should be tried for #treason and hanged.”
The Washington Times said the account “subsequently tweeted the link to an article that aggregated her remark, accompanied by a crude depiction of a stick figure hanging from gallows”.
The @2020MNCongress account cannot be viewed. Text on the page reads “account suspended” and “Twitter suspends accounts which violate the Twitter Rules”.
In a statement, Twitter told the Guardian: “The account was permanently suspended for repeated violations of the Twitter Rules.”
Stella said in a statement: “My suspension for advocating for the enforcement of federal code proves Twitter will always side with and fight to protect terrorists, traitors, pedophiles and rapists.”
The Guardian revealed that Stella has been arrested twice this year over accusations that she shoplifted some $2,300 in goods from Target and $40 in items from a grocery, Stella has maintained her innocence.
She has made claims about Omar before, claiming she broke the law by telling immigrants how to avoid authorities. Lawmakers who don’t “uphold the rule of law”, Stella said, should be kicked out of office.
A spokesperson for Omar did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Since winning election to Congress last year, Omar has attracted rightwing attacks and fringe conspiracy theories as well as outright threats of violence. The congresswoman said this April she faced an increase in death threats after Trump accused her of downplaying September 11.
On 19 November, New York man Patrick Carlineo pleaded guilty in relation to calling Omar’s office and telling a staffer: “Why are you working for her, she’s a [expletive] terrorist. Somebody ought to put a bullet in her skull. Back in the day, our forefathers would have put a bullet in her [expletive].”
Omar, who came to the US as a Somali refugee, appealed for “compassion”.
“As someone who fled a war zone, I know how destabilizing acts of political violence can be,” she said in a letter to the judge. “That his threat of violence relied on hateful stereotypes about my faith only made it more dangerous … it was a threat against an entire religion, at a time of rising hate crime against religious minorities in our country.”
She added: “We must ask: who are we as a nation if we respond to acts of political retribution with retribution ourselves? The answer to hate is not more hate; it is compassion.”