Rep. Dan Crenshaw‘s (R-Texas) past as an administrator for a Facebook group that served as a haven for racist, white nationalist and Islamophobic rhetoric is being subject to another round of scrutiny after his repeated attacks on fellow Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.).
On Tuesday, Crenshaw ignited the controversy by sharing an out-of-context quote from a recent speech Omar gave to the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR). During the speech, Omar was making a point about a collective wave of Islamophobia washing over America in the aftermath of 9/11.
“Far too long we have lived with the discomfort of being a second-class citizen, and frankly, I’m tired of it, and every single Muslim in this country should be tired of it,” Omar said at the Muslim civil rights event in late March. “CAIR was founded after 9/11 because they recognized that some people did something and that all of us were starting to lose access to our civil liberties.”
Crenshaw, however, isolated the phrase, “some people did something” in an apparent bid to accuse Omar of minimizing the incident of terrorism.
“Unbelievable,” the freshman GOP congressman tweeted.
The next day, Fox & Friends re-shared the out-of-context quote and host Brian Kilmeade went on to question whether Omar was actually American. Kilmeade later backtracked from that position. Omar responded to Crenshaw and Kilmeade in a single tweet, accusing them both of “dangerous incitement” due to the recent spate of death threats that have been leveled against her.
This is dangerous incitement, given the death threats I face. I hope leaders of both parties will join me in condemning it.
My love and commitment to our country and that of my colleagues should never be in question. We are ALL Americans! pic.twitter.com/foTZMpiZKv
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) April 10, 2019
Crenshaw then went on NBC to attack Omar again–accusing the oft-threatened congresswoman of exaggerating the severity of the incident.
“Don’t play the victim card,” Crenshaw complained, “Don’t start making accusations of me.”
That’s when Twitter called foul.
Many users called Crenshaw out for playing the victim card himself after Omar criticized his rhetoric:
Now Crenshaw is playing the victim.https://t.co/RW3X6QghXW
— jordan (@JordanUhl) April 13, 2019
Playing the victim after overtly showing bigotry – such a snowflake btch move by Crenshaw
— Terry Bull (@TerryBull8) April 13, 2019
Dan (playing political football): Crenshaw: “Waaaaaahhh! I acted like a partisan stooge and people are calling me out for it! I’m the real victim here!”
Shame on you, Sir.
— NatalieG.Borden (@BordenNatalieg) April 13, 2019
Others noted that Crenshaw, despite his criticisms of Omar over her 9/11 comments, has yet to support renewing the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund–and that Crenshaw allegedly brushed off a 9/11 firefighter who confronted the conservative congressman over his opposition to the fund.
This story from a survivor encapsulates how Republicans have used the 9/11 tragedy. @DanCrenshawTX went hysterical to get people mad at @IlhanMN. But there is no debating this: she supports renewing the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund; he has yet to do so. https://t.co/bRrUa5UT5H
— Jamil Smith (@JamilSmith) April 13, 2019
Such criticisms eventually led to people dredging up Crenshaw’s tenure as an administrator for the Tea Party Facebook group, whose members frequently trafficked in racist, white nationalist and Islamophobic rhetoric and ideology.
I made a thread of the racist, sexist, homophobic, and Islamophobic posts from the Facebook group Dan Crenshaw was an admin for and member of.
The first post is about killing Muslims and was posted while Crenshaw was an admin.https://t.co/KvuJceEsol
— Peter Daou is good (@Jamie_Maz) April 11, 2019
The real Dan Crenshaw: War criminal and right wing racist
FDNY firefighter who survived 9/11 says Republican criticizing Ilhan Omar told him he was ‘too busy’ to talk victim benefitshttps://t.co/9tmxFNk5lK
— Remi Kanazi (@Remroum) April 13, 2019
Crenshaw plays victim and ran a white supremacist Facebook site https://t.co/lQNYtjFR7X
— Mikaela Skye (@MikaelaSkyeSays) April 13, 2019
The attack is even more virulent considering Crenshaw’s past as an administrator for a racist Facebook page.
— DangerGirl (@DangerGirl6) April 13, 2019
As liberal watchdog Media Matters reported in August 2018, Crenshaw joined the group in May of 2018 and repeatedly shared Facebook videos from his congressional campaign with the group.
Other frequent posts in the group included promotion of the Pizzagate conspiracy theory, the Seth Rich conspiracy theory, anti-Muslim and anti-black racism–and even posts which defended the white nationalist and alt-right Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Viriginia which ultimately claimed the life of socialist Heather Heyer.
Crenshaw was one of five Republican candidates for office who were members or administrators of the group before the Media Matters report. All five of said GOPers left the group after the report was publicized.
Now, in the midst of full-on Twitter warfare between Omar and Crenshaw, the Twitterati is loath to let Crenshaw forget about his past.
[image via Ethan Miller/Getty Images]