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Rep. Ilhan Omar retweets ‘defund the Pentagon’ call by congressional candidate

Rep. Ilhan Omar. (Glen Stubbe/Minneapolis Star Tribune/TNS)
October 22, 2020

Rep. Ilhan Omar has repeated an idea of defunding the U.S. Department of Defense.

Omar retweeted a call to defund the DOD on Tuesday, after it was originally tweeted by Missouri congressional candidate Cori Bush.

“If you’re having a bad day, just think of all the social services we’re going to fund after we defund the Pentagon,” Bush tweeted on Tuesday.

A retweet by Rep. Ilhan Omar on Oct. 20, 2020.

In July, Omar had released a statement criticizing the House of Representatives’ vote on the National Defense Authorization Act.

“Now is not the time to spend another $740 billion on a defense budget while thousands of Minnesotans are unable to make ends meet. Congress must focus on the urgent needs of the American people such as prioritizing healthcare, food access, and housing instead of diverting tax dollars to fund wasteful Pentagon spending,” Omar said.

Omar’s statement included only a broad criticism of DOD spending, and did not indicate whether the congresswoman opposes the entire budget or part of it.

“I refuse to tell Minnesotans that I greenlit billions of dollars in Pentagon waste while they are suffering,” Omar added.

In 2019, Omar claimed that 57 percent of U.S. spending is on defense. Her claim was fact-checked by Politifact, who pointed out that defense spending comprises just 15 percent of the U.S. budget. Even among discretionary spending, less than 50 percent goes to defense spending.

The call to defund the DOD comes as progressives have made similar calls to defund police departments and reallocate funding into social services and other police alternatives.

Omar herself has called for the dismantlement of the Minneapolis Police Department — her own district’s law enforcement — after the killing of black man George Floyd in the custody of the city’s police officers.

“You can’t really reform a department that is rotten to the root. What you can do is rebuild,” Omar said on CNN’s “State of the Union” in June.

“And so this is our opportunity, you know, as a city to come together and have the conversation of what public safety looks like, who enforces the most dangerous crimes that take place in our community,” she added. “And just like San Francisco did, right now, they’re moving toward a process where there is a separation of the kind of crimes that solicit the help of, you know, officers and the kind of crimes that we should have someone else respond to.”