A baseless smear targeting Ilhan Omar made its way to Trump thanks to Fox and these far-right figures
President Donald Trump recently invoked a conspiracy theory alleging that Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) married her brother. The smear, which relies on “Pizzagate-levels of delusion,” is similar to the birther conspiracy theory that targeted former President Barack Obama. It has spread over the past three years on message boards, right-wing sites, social media, and Fox News, along with the help of a Trump campaign surrogate and a number of far-right figures, one of whom directly took credit for Trump invoking the conspiracy theory.
Trump pushed a conspiracy theory about Omar’s marriage
Trump: “There's a lot of talk about the fact that [Omar] was married to her brother. I know nothing about it.” Responding to a question from a One America News Network correspondent about Omar’s marriages, Trump said, “There's a lot of talk about the fact that she was married to her brother. I know nothing about it.” [Business Insider, 7/18/19; Twitter, 7/17/19]
The smear against Omar relies on baseless assumptions and leaps of logic and is similar to the birther conspiracy theory against Obama
Omar has denied the conspiracy theory multiple times, calling it “absurd and offensive.” While running for the Minnesota state legislature in 2016, Omar released the following statement:
In 2002, when I was 19 years old, Ahmed Hirsi (whose name before he received citizenship was Ahmed Aden), the father of my children and love of my life, and I, applied for a marriage license, but we never finalized the application and thus were never legally married. In 2008, we decided to end our relationship in our faith tradition after reaching an impasse in our life together.
I entered into a relationship with a British citizen, Ahmed Nur Said Elmi, and married him legally in 2009. Our relationship ended in 2011 and we divorced in our faith tradition. After that, he moved home to England. I have yet to legally divorce Ahmed Nur Said Elmi, but am in the process of doing so. Insinuations that Ahmed Nur Said Elmi is my brother are absurd and offensive.
Since 2011, I am happy to say that I have reconciled with Ahmed Hirsi, we have married in our faith tradition and are raising our family together. Like all families, we have had our ups and downs but we are proud to have come through it together.
In 2018, while running for Congress, Omar again denied the conspiracy theory, saying, “We choose not to further the narrative of those who oppose us.” [MinnPost, 8/8/16; The Associated Press, 10/17/18]
NY Times: Omar’s list of siblings does not include Elmi. In a fact check of Trump’s remark, The New York Times noted that in 2018, “Omar showed a reporter cellphone images of documents from her family’s entry into the United States in 1995. They listed her father and siblings by order of birth, with Ms. Omar listed as the youngest of seven children. Mr. Elmi’s name did not appear in the documents.” The fact check also noted that the couple’s marriage certificate listed Elmi as “three years younger than Ms. Omar, whose mother died when she was 2 years old.” [The New York Times, 7/18/19]
Fact-checker Truth or Fiction: “There is no credible evidence” for the conspiracy theory. From a June 26 fact check from Truth or Fiction:
All claims that Rep. Omar married her brother Ahmed Elmi traced back to the same single third-hand account originally shared by Power Line Blog in 2016. Omar and a man in the United Kingdom by the name Ahmed Elmi have denied all the claims. Omar has provided access to the limited records she has as a refugee to journalists, efforts on her part that are later dismissed as non-cooperation. No one has ever substantiated the claim, and “new” information repeatedly spread by partisan blogs almost inevitably consists of speculative details such as a name appearing to exist in website code for a URL belonging to her sister.
Multiple aspects of the theory taken examined in part also fail to make sense, such as how a UK citizen (Elmi) purportedly sought US citizenship (which he did not pursue) or the insinuation the family’s youngest member somehow went off on his own to a separate country (England) as a small child. Finally, we were unable to determine the standard of evidence by which proponents of the claim demand Omar disprove it. Omar has categorically denied the claim and provided records to journalists seeking information, and we were not able to identify any specific information she has refused to provide. [Truth or Fiction?, 6/26/19]
The Daily Beast’s Will Sommer: Anti-Omar conspiracy theory relies on “Pizzagate-levels of delusion.” A review of the conspiracy theory from The Daily Beast’s Will Sommer noted that the conspiracy theory “has begun to spin off into confusing, lengthy investigations incomprehensible to anyone who hasn’t already read dozens of blog posts,” and that much of it relies on “social-media posts in which someone with Elmi’s name refers to Omar as his ‘sister.’” But as Sommer wrote, “according to Somali language experts and language learning websites.‘brother’ and ‘sister’ can be terms of endearment in Somali that don’t necessarily constitute a familial relationship.” Sommer also noted that Omar’s “critics never appear satisfied with her explanations.” From the July 19 article:
Omar’s efforts to disprove the claims have been stymied by the fact that — like earlier right-wing conspiracy theories alleging that Hillary Clinton eats children in a Washington pizzeria or murdered Democratic staffer Seth Rich — her critics never appear satisfied with her explanations. In 2018, Omar showed a reporter from the Star Tribune pictures of immigration documents from when her family entered the United States that list her siblings’ names. The list did not include anyone by Elmi’s name.
“It’s really strange, right, to try to prove a negative,” Omar told the paper. “If someone was asking me, do I have a brother by that name, I don’t. If someone was asking… are there court documents that are false… there is no truth to that.”
The conspiracies around Omar’s marriage have been further fueled by the lack of documents her family has because of their status as refugees from war-torn Somalia, Omar’s reluctance to discuss the smear, and her own complicated marriage history — which critics have used to sow confusion about her marriage.
Though the political significance of this history is confusing, it has shadowed Omar’s pursuit of elected office. As she ran for a Minnesota House position in 2016, the discrepancies between her marriage dates surfaced, and Omar’s campaign paid an accounting firm $1,500 to resolve the joint tax issues. Omar divorced Elmi in 2017 and married Hirsi in 2018. This June, Omar was fined $500 for improperly using the $1,500 in campaign money to resolve the tax issues, providing more fodder for critics looking to allege that there’s something suspicious taking place.
On Twitter, Sommer wrote that the conspiracy theory was based on “Pizzagate-levels of delusion,” adding that a recent Star Tribune review of the conspiracy theory noted, “Omar incorrectly filed her taxes and used campaign money to fix it — that doesn't mean she married her brother!” [The Daily Beast, 7/19/19; Twitter, 7/19/19, 7/19/19]
Conspiracy theory about Omar is similar to Obama birtherism. Sommer noted in his report, “As with ‘birther’ claims that Barack Obama was born in Kenya, promoters of the Omar smear are using it to strike at the heart of Omar’s status as an American citizen, even though it’s about ‘her brother’ entering the country under false pretenses.” On Twitter, Sommer wrote that a response from Omar could be similar to “Obama releasing his birth certificate — only to have birthers demand the ‘longform’ birth certificate.” [The Daily Beast, 7/19/19; Twitter, 7/19/19]
Conspiracy theory started on a message board and multiple right-wing and far-right figures boosted it
User on message board Somali Spot claimed Omar committed “marriage fraud” and “married her brother.” In August 2016, user AbdiJohnson on the message board Somali Spot posted a now-deleted thread titled “Ilhan Omar marriage fraud exposure” which claimed, “Omar married her brother Ahmed Nur Said Elmi.” Sommer’s review of the conspiracy theory noted that the user “was notorious on the site as a troll known for making up claims to rile up the site’s other members.” [Somali Spot, August 2016, August 2016; The Daily Beast, 7/19/19]
Power Line’s Scott Johnson pointed to thread to claim “marriage and immigration fraud” by Omar, which is then shared by Twitter accounts and Reddit. On August 12, 2016, Scott Johnson of the right-wing blog Power Line wrote that the message board thread was evidence of “Omar’s involvement in marriage and immigration fraud,” because it “notes that Omar married her brother,” which would be “illegal under Minnesota law.” Following Power Line’s post, Twitter accounts that had bot-like activity pushed the conspiracy theory, and the post was shared in the “r/Minnesota” subreddit the following day. [Power Line, 8/12/16; Reddit, 8/13/16, Twitter, 2/19/19]
YouTube video: “Muslim wins Minnesota Democrat primary while married to her own brother.” The next day, a local news segment about Omar’s primary win was uploaded to YouTube with the title “Muslim wins Minnesota Democrat primary while married to her own brother.” Though the news segment didn’t mention the conspiracy theory, the uploader interspersed images of the text that pushed the conspiracy theory in the video. The video’s description included: “Marrying a sibling is illegal in Minnesota but they did it anyway, probably to skirt immigration laws.” [YouTube, 8/13/16]
The Gateway Pundit: Media “Forgets to Mention [Omar’s] Married to Her Brother.” The same day the YouTube video was uploaded, Jim Hoft of the far-right and notoriously inaccurate blog The Gateway Pundit cited Power Line’s blog post in a piece headlined “Media Cheers ‘Historic’ Somali Muslim’s Primary Victory – Forgets to Mention She’s Married to Her Brother.”
[The Gateway Pundit, 8/13/16; Media Matters, 7/9/19, 1/25/17]
Star Tribune: “Marriage discrepancy clouds Ilhan Omar's historic primary victory.” The Star Tribune cited “recent reports that she married her brother to commit immigration fraud while remaining married to the man who is the father of her three children,” crediting Power Line and noting that Omar and her campaign spokesman denied it. The Tribune also paraphrased Johnson telling the outlet that there were “many unanswered questions.” [Star Tribune, 8/16/16]
WND: Power Line report a “bombshell.” The following week, conspiracy theory blog WND claimed that Power Line “dropped a bombshell a few days after the primary” because Omar was “accused of being married to two men, at the same time, including one who may be her brother,” calling the report “shocking,” and quoting former Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-MN) that an investigation was needed. [WND, 8/19/19]
Alpha News: “Further Investigation Suggests Omar Married Brother.” A few days later, Preya Samsundar -- now a communications staffer for the Minnesota Republican Party -- wrote a post for Alpha News, a right-wing site bankrolled by a Republican donor, which claimed that “research” found that Omar had been involved with Elmi and Hirsi “at the same time,” primarily relying on social media posts that The Daily Beast’s Sommer noted were not confirmed to “even belong to the right Elmi.” Four days later, Samsundar published another piece claiming the Elmi identified from social media posts wrote an email “demanding we remove his picture from our site” and claiming that “in no way am I affiliated with anyone in your articles.” [Alpha News, 8/22/16, 8/26/16; The Daily Beast, 7/19/19; Twitter, 7/17/19]
Jihad Watch: “Immigration fraud: Muslim Minnesota House candidate married her brother; no investigation.” On August 27, 2016, anti-Muslim blog Jihad Watch cited the first Alpha News report to claim Omar “may also be guilty of immigration fraud, as she apparently married her own brother, who is not a US citizen, in 2009.” [Jihad Watch, 8/27/16]
Reddit’s pro-Trump forum “r/The_Donald”: “The left have gone full retard: Muslim wins Minnesota Democrat primary while married to her own brother.” A user on the subreddit “r/The_Donald” posted the August 13, 2016, YouTube video and its title, adding it showed that the “left have gone full retard.” [Reddit, 8/28/16]
Power Line’s Scott Johnson in City Journal: Omar may have “engaged in some kind of dishonest activity in connection with her marriage to her brother.” Writing for The Manhattan Institute’s City Journal on September 9, 2016, Johnson again cited the Somali Spot message board thread to suggest that Omar could have “engaged in some kind of dishonest activity in connection with her marriage to her brother (which by itself would be illegal).” [City Journal, 9/9/16]
The Gateway Pundit: “We reported on [Omar’s] immigration fraud where she married her brother in order to help him gain entry to a U.S. University.” While criticizing an April 2017 vote from Omar in the Minnesota legislature, The Gateway Pundit’s Cristina Laila wrote, “Omar has been on our radar here at TGP for quite a while. We reported on her immigration fraud where she married her brother in order to help him gain entry to a U.S. University.” [The Gateway Pundit, 4/21/17]
PJ Media: Omar stayed in touch with Elmi despite denying it in court. On August 8, 2018, PJ Media’s David Steinberg claimed that pictures supposedly of Omar with Elmi, including one Alpha News had previously posted, were “newly uncovered evidence” for the conspiracy theory because Omar had told a family court in 2017 that she had not been in contact with Elmi for years. [PJ Media, 8/8/18]
Jihad Watch’s post on PJ Media report spread by anti-Muslim Twitter troll. That same day, Jihad Watch wrote a blog post hyping the PJ Media report, which was later tweeted by notorious anti-Muslim Twitter troll Amy Mek, who also tweeted the August 13, 2016, YouTube video that pushed the conspiracy theory. [Jihad Watch, 8/8/18; Twitter, 8/9/18; HuffPost, 5/31/18]
Reddit’s “r/The_Donald”: “Could this State Rep Democrat Have Committed Immigration Fraud?” On the same day the PJ Media report was published, a user on the subreddit “r/The_Donald” posted a link to the site conservatives.al, writing, “State Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) Swore To Apparent Falsehoods in Court — While Divorcing Her Alleged Brother.”
Laura Loomer interrupted Omar at an event to ask, “Why did you marry your brother?” On August 11, 2018, far-right anti-Muslim bigot Laura Loomer interrupted a rally Omar had with then-Democratic congressional candidate Rashida Tlaib to say, “Ilhan, why did you marry your brother?” An independent research collective found the incident correlated with a spike in Twitter mentions of the conspiracy theory. [Vice, 8/14/18; Media Matters, 5/2/19; Mother Jones, 7/19/19]
PJ Media accused media of ignoring conspiracy theory that Omar “married her own brother to assist him in committing immigration fraud.” Steinberg claimed that media outlets “just whiffed on covering” the conspiracy theory since it suggests “Omar married her own brother to assist him in committing immigration fraud or some other crime.” [PJ Media, 8/13/18]
Brigitte Gabriel: Omar “committed immigration fraud by marrying her brother.” A day later, anti-Muslim extremist Brigitte Gabriel tweeted, “Ilhan Omar committed immigration fraud by marrying her brother to help him immigrate to the United States,” calling it a “travesty.” She later added that Omar is “a refugee who married her brother and is openly anti-Semitic,” urging “patriotic Americans all over Minnesota” to “stand up against this horror.” [Twitter, 8/14/18, 8/15/18; Media Matters, 5/31/19]
Fox’s Tucker Carlson: Omar “accused of executing a bizarre immigration fraud involving a marriage to her own brother.” During the August 16, 2018, edition of Fox News’ Tucker Carlson Tonight, host Tucker Carlson said Omar had been “accused of executing a bizarre immigration fraud involving a marriage to her own brother.” Carlson hosted Johnson to again push the conspiracy theory, citing Alpha News and saying the conspiracy theory “seemed to check out.” [Fox News, Tucker Carlson Tonight, 8/16/18]
4chan “/pol/” user: “Minnesota elects Somali immigrant who married brother.” That same day, a user on 4chan’s “politically incorrect” message board known as “/pol/” wrote a thread citing PJ Media’s coverage.
8chan user: Omar “had an incestuous marriage for the purpose of immigration fraud.” A user on 8chan’s “/pol/” message board in September claimed Omar “had an incestuous marriage for the purpose of immigration fraud,” citing Johnson’s 2016 article in City Journal.
Fox’s Laura Ingraham tweeted PJ Media article titled “Official School Records Support Claims That Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) Married Her Brother.” On October 23, Steinberg wrote that “exclusive new evidence” for the conspiracy theory showed that someone also named Elmi was supposedly enrolled at St. Paul Public Schools and had the same birthday as the Elmi that Omar divorced. Fox News host Laura Ingraham later tweeted the article.
[PJ Media, 10/23/18; Twitter, 10/23/18]
Fox’s Lou Dobbs: Omar is “facing questions she married her brother.” During an October 24 review of some races in the 2018 midterm elections, Fox Business host Lou Dobbs said Omar was “facing questions that she married her brother as part of a fraudulent immigration scheme, an allegation she denies.” [Fox Business, Lou Dobbs Tonight, 10/24/18]
PJ Media: Omar “Still Lived With Her First Husband Throughout Marriage To Her Apparent Brother.” In a piece titled “Address Records Show Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) Still Lived With Her First Husband Throughout Marriage To Her Apparent Brother,” Steinberg claimed “new evidence” showed Omar lived with Elmi and Hirsi at the same time. [PJ Media, 10/30/18]
Sebastian Gorka: “Some people say [Omar] married her brother.” Radio host and former White House national security aide Sebastian Gorka said on his January 23 radio show that “apparently some people say [Omar] married her brother to get a green card for him, and she refuses to answer questions with regards to that.” [Salem Radio Networks, America First with Sebastian Gorka, 1/23/19]
QAnon supporter Dylan Wheeler: Omar “married her brother.” Dylan Wheeler, a supporter of the QAnon conspiracy theory who goes as “Educating Liberals” on Twitter, tweeted that Omar “married her brother & was against a bill that increased penalties for female genital mutilation.” [Twitter, 1/27/19; Right Wing Watch, 4/15/19]
The Gateway Pundit: “TEN YEARS AGO TODAY: Democrat Rep. Ilhan Omar Marries Her Biological Brother from Somalia.” [The Gateway Pundit, 2/12/19]
OANN’s Jack Posobiec: “There’s actually a large amount of evidence supporting” the conspiracy theory. In February, One America News Network aired a segment from Jack Posobiec, a far-right conspiracy theorist who pushed the “Pizzagate” conspiracy theory, saying, “For several years now, local reporters in Minnesota and conservative bloggers have been breaking a shocking story regarding newly elected Congresswoman Ilhan Omar.” Posobiec claimed that she “may have married her own brother in 2009 in an immigration fraud scheme,” mentioning Alpha News and PJ Media, and adding that “there's actually a large amount of evidence supporting it.” Posobiec also posted the segment on Twitter, and an independent research collective found a spike in Twitter mentions of the conspiracy theory soon after. [YouTube, 2/13/19; Twitter, 2/12/19; Media Matters, 11/14/18; Mother Jones, 7/19/19]
Stranger Than Fiction News: “Documents show [Omar] married her brother in immigration scheme to acquire a green card.” The Twitter account for Stranger Than Fiction News, an outlet known for spreading fake news on social media, tweeted a video of Omar along with the caption: “Documents show she married her brother in immigration scheme to acquire a green card.” A chyron below the video also included the accusation. [Twitter, 2/14/19; Lead Stories, 5/22/18; PolitiFact, 11/21/18]
Loomer and Jacob Wohl claimed they “tried to serve Ilhan Omar with a sworn affidavit that says she never married her brother.” Jacob Wohl, a far-right figure who regularly pushes false claims and schemes including a hoax smear against special counsel Robert Mueller, tweeted on February 17 that Loomer and fellow far-right figure Ali Akbar (also known as Ali Alexander), would be traveling with him to Omar’s district “to gather evidence of the SHAM MARRIAGE to her brother.” A few days later, Wohl tweeted an image of himself with Loomer, claiming they “just tried to serve Ilhan Omar with a sworn affidavit that says she never married her brother.” Loomer posted similar language on her Facebook page with the same photo.
[Twitter, 2/17/19, 2/22/19; Facebook; 2/22/19; Media Matters, 4/30/19, 7/9/19]
Wohl, Loomer, and Jack Burkman held press conference at CPAC to push the conspiracy theory. Wohl, Loomer, and right-wing figure Jack Burkman held a press conference on February 28 outside the Conservative Political Action Conference to push the conspiracy theory. [Mediaite, 2/28/19; Twitter, 2/28/19; Media Matters, 4/30/19]
Wohl, Loomer, and Akbar released film pushing the conspiracy theory. On March 11, Wohl, Loomer, and Akbar released a film called Importing Ilhan, which was filmed during their visit to Omar’s district and pushed the conspiracy theory. During the documentary, Wohl appeared to report a fake death threat from one of the Twitter accounts he controlled to police as real. [The Daily Beast, 5/8/19]
Geller Report and Posobiec pushed Gateway Pundit piece claiming, “Official High School Records Support Claim that Democrat Ilhan Omar Married Her Brother.” The Gateway Pundit published a piece on April 16 about school records supposedly proving the conspiracy theory -- the same claim PJ Media reported in October. The Geller Report, a blog run by anti-Muslim bigot Pamela Geller, cited the Gateway Pundit article to criticize the “enemedia’s censoring, whitewashing and scrubbing of” the conspiracy theory. The article was also tweeted by Posobiec, which an independent research collective found may have contributed to a spike in Twitter mentions of the conspiracy theory. [The Gateway Pundit, 4/16/19; Geller Report, 4/16/19; Twitter, 4/16/19; Mother Jones, 7/19/19]
The Gateway Pundit and Michelle Malkin claimed incorrect tax return filings prove conspiracy theory. The Gateway Pundit published another piece in June headlined “HUGE! Investigation Into Ilhan Omar Reveals Alleged Fraudulent Tax Returns Linked to Marriage to Her Brother.” The article cited Steinberg, who noted discrepancies in Omar’s jointly filed taxes to push the conspiracy theory. Omar agreed to pay a fine over joint returns she had filed with Hirsi in 2014 and 2015 before they were legally married, which was discovered during an investigation over misused campaign funds. Michelle Malkin also cited the discrepancy as proof of the conspiracy theory, tweeting a YouTube video of Loomer’s August 2018 badgering of Omar and Tlaib about using “campaign funds to pay for your divorce from your brother.” [The Gateway Pundit, 6/6/19; Twitter, 6/6/19, The Associated Press, 6/12/19]
Loomer falsely claimed Star Tribune report vindicates conspiracy theory. Loomer that same day posted on the messaging app Telegram that “the Left wing Star Tribune is now reporting in agreement with us,” adding, “Thank you to Alpha News, PJ Media and PowerLine for their work in outing Ilhan even though the MSM is trying to rob us all!” [Telegram, 6/23/19]
Far-right “Pizzagate” conspiracy theorist Mike Cernovich: “She married her brother to commit immigration fraud.”
[Twitter, 6/23/19; Media Matters, 4/21/18]
Fox’s Carlson cited Wash. Examiner report to claim Omar “may have committed immigration-related marriage fraud.” Carlson on June 24 cited a Washington Examiner report to say that “Reporters are finally taking a closer look at allegations from several years ago -- well publicized allegations, but widely ignored in the media -- that Omar may have committed immigration-related marriage fraud.” Carlson also hosted a Minnesota Republican state representative, who mentioned Steinberg and said it looked “very likely” that Omar committed “marriage fraud.” [Fox News, Tucker Carlson Tonight, 6/24/19; Washington Examiner, 6/23/19]
Posobiec, The Gateway Pundit, and The Daily Caller pushed Steinberg’s claim that “source code” shows Elmi lives in Kenya with Omar’s sister. Steinberg claimed that “source code” showed Elmi helping with a website that was supposedly run by Omar’s sister as proof that Elmi was living with her in Kenya. OANN’s Posobiec, The Gateway Pundit, and The Daily Caller all ran with Steinberg’s claim as evidence for the conspiracy theory about her family. [Twitter, 6/23/19, 6/23/19, 6/23/19, 6/24/19; YouTube, 6/26/19; The Gateway Pundit, 6/25/19; The Daily Caller, 6/23/19]
Dinesh D’Souza cited the conspiracy theory to call for Omar’s indictment. Right-wing pundit Dinesh D’Souza on June 23 tweeted: “I’m trying to keep the @IlhanMN story straight. She marrried her brother to evade immigration laws? Then she divorced him and illicitly filed joint tax returns with another guy years before they were married? I was prosecuted for doing far less; why hasn’t she been indicted yet?” [Twitter, 6/23/19]
Tim Pool falsely claimed Star Tribune claimed that Omar “may have married her brother.” Tim Pool, a YouTuber with connections to multiple white nationalists and far-right figures, uploaded a June 23 video falsely claiming that the Star Tribune showed Omar “may have married her brother.” [YouTube, 6/23/19; Media Matters, 7/9/19]
Republican congressional challenger to Omar, Danielle Stella, on QAnon YouTube channel: Omar “was in fact married to a gentleman who I believe to be her brother.” During an appearance on a June 24 video on Patriots’ Soapbox -- a major QAnon YouTube channel -- Danielle Stella, a Republican congressional candidate running for Omar’s seat, said Omar “was in fact married to a gentleman who I believe to be her brother.”
[YouTube, 6/24/19; The Daily Beast, 7/23/19; NBC News, 8/14/18]
Fox’s Carlson hosted Johnson, who said Elmi “may or may not be her brother.” On June 25, Carlson attacked media outlets for ignoring the conspiracy theory and once again hosted Johnson, who said he, Samsundar, and Steinberg had been “following a trail of evidence suggesting that Omar entered into a sham marriage” and that Elmi “may or may not be her brother.” [Fox News, Tucker Carlson Tonight, 6/25/19]
Trump campaign surrogate and QAnon supporter Stacey Dash: Omar “married her brother to become a citizen.” Stacey Dash, a QAnon supporter and now co-chair of Women for Trump, a coalition group for Trump’s reelection campaign, tweeted on June 27, “#VoteHerOut This is America. If we don’t STAND together we will fall to the feet of people like her. She married her brother to become a citizen.”
[Twitter, 6/27/19, 7/23/19; women.donaldjtrump.com, accessed 7/23/19]
Fox’s Sean Hannity: “There are a lot of questions” about Omar’s “marriage to her brother.” On his radio show, Fox host Sean Hannity said, “I don’t know what the issue is about her marriage to her brother, whether that’s true or not” but “there are a lot of questions about it,” adding that he was “looking and reading all the articles” and “we’ll keep looking.” [Premiere Radio Networks, The Sean Hannity Show, 7/15/19]
Rush Limbaugh: Omar “married her brother illegally” to get to America. Right-wing radio host Rush Limbaugh said on July 16 that Omar “married her brother illegally,” adding that she showed Democrats will “break any law” and “will do anything they have to do to get to America.” [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 7/16/19]
The Gateway Pundit: “Birth Date of Ilhan Omar’s Brother-Husband on Wedding Certificate Matches His School Records.” The Gateway Pundit published yet another blog post claiming that Omar and Elmi’s marriage certificate and Elmi’s supposed school records were evidence for the conspiracy theory. The piece claimed they had “several updates on Ilhan’s story in the past two days” but added, “Our sources are hesitant to go public due to concerns of retribution from certain segments in the US Somali community.” [The Gateway Pundit, 7/16/19]
Posobiec tweeted Alpha News video pushing conspiracy theory. Posobiec tweeted a video on July 16, the day before Trump made his remarks about Omar, from Alpha News pushing the conspiracy theory, adding, “Be a shame if this went viral.” [Twitter, 7/16/19]
Akbar took credit after Trump floats conspiracy theory. The day after Trump mentioned the conspiracy theory about Omar to reporters, Culttture, a site Akbar co-runs with other far-right figures, posted a since-deleted tweet with video of Akbar floating the possibility that Trump had watched Importing Ilhan, saying he was “really excited and I’d like to thank the president.” Akbar added that he wanted “everyone to tweet the president” and “thank” him and other Trump officials for “validating the work that I have done, the work that Alpha News has done, the work that PJ Media has done, the work that Power Line blog has done, the work that Laura Loomer has done, even the work that Jacob Wohl has done.”