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For years, critics of Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn. As Omar has become a frequent target of attacks by President Donald Trump, allies of the president have only ramped up their criticism of the congresswoman, who was a refugee and is now a naturalized U. Trump himself mentioned the allegation that Omar had married her brother on July Talking to reporters before boarding Marine One, Trump said, "There's a lot of talk about the fact that she was married to her brother.
I know nothing about it. Several media outlets, including the Associated Press and her hometown paper, the Minneapolis Star-Tribunehave delved into this question and Omar's personal history. PolitiFact: Does the U. PolitiFact: Fifty years after Apollo 11, moon landing hoaxes still thrive online. In a June 23 article, the Star-Tribune wrote that it "could neither conclusively confirm nor rebut the allegation that he is Omar's sibling.
The Star-Tribune has published the most detailed, evidence-based reporting. Here are some of the key points from their report:. Omar and Hirsi had two children, but inthey obtained a religious divorce. Little is known about Elmi, other than that Omar has referred to him as a "British citizen" and that he attended high school in the Minneapolis area and, like Omar, later attended North Dakota State University.
InOmar and Hirsi reconciled and had a third. InOmar legally divorced Elmi, and the following year, she legally married Hirsi. The caption of the photograph identified Elmi as holding the baby girl, calling her "nieces. She did tell the Star-Tribune in Octoberbefore she was elected to Congress, that "it's really strange, right, to prove a negative. Omar's office referred PolitiFact to the response it provided to the Star-Tribunewhich says in part: "Ilhan has shared more than most public officials ever do about the details of her personal life — even when it is personally painful.
Whether by colluding with right-wing outlets to go after Muslim elected officials or hounding family members, legitimate media outlets have a responsibility not to fan the flames of hate. Continuing to do so is not only demeaning to Ilhan, but to her entire family. Patrick Coolican and Stephen Montemayor. My interest as an editor began with the silence she has Chat with married ladies Saint-Omer about her improper tax filings.
That got my attention. She would say only that she had corrected the and tax filings and would not Chat with married ladies Saint-Omer anything about why she had filed taxes with a man she was not married to when she was separated but still married to someone else. It was a natural question: Who is Elmi and how does he fit into her life? We were not getting a lot of answers. We also knew that sincewhen she was running for the legislature, conservative opinion journalists and activists had been hounding her about these allegations, which had actually first surfaced in a local Somali news forum.
We wanted to know, what is the case to be made for this narrative that won't go away? She's our congresswoman. It was a very provocative allegation. We felt as journalists, if there was smoke, it's our job to look behind it to see if there's fire.
What's behind it? What is the evidence? So I ased a couple of reporters to go back over the case. It turned out that most of the evidence behind the notion that she had married her brother was in social media. So we looked at the social media trail. It had been wiped clean, and that piqued our interest even more. But because the posts had been wiped, we had to rely on screen grabs that had been posted by people who we know have an ax to grind. So it was tricky. Were these social media posts the main evidence for the allegation that she had married her brother? As far as I can tell, it's really only the social media posts.
It seemed clear that there is some kind of personal relationship between Omar and Elmi. But whether they are family or not, we can't tell. We weren't able to come close to determining whether that was the truth. And frankly, we were wary of drawing any conclusions. They both went to North Dakota State University, and they had overlapping addresses.
Our public records searches determined that in at least one period after she married Elmi, all three Omar, Elmi and Hirsi used the same address in Minnesota. It raises questions about the nature of the relationship if she is living with both the person she's married to and her eventual husband. What's really made it hard is that she's been unwilling to address any of these questions. That has fueled the controversy. We quoted her at length to say that these were mere accusations, that they were unfair, and that she shouldn't have to address them. Be that as may, there was an undisputed instance of her filing her taxes improperly.
And if you're in Congress, you should explain that to your constituents. It's true that for many immigrants like Omar, there are not a lot of available public records from their home country. That works both for and against her. It can leave family relationships murky.
But in fairness to her, these allegations can be hard for her to disprove. From start to finish, a couple of weeks. They were covering multiple daily stories during that time, too. I have a team of six political reporters and I put two of them on the story. Our paper had been accused of neglecting the story earlier, and I felt like we owed it to our readers. It wasn't easy — there just isn't a lot of evidence to mine in this area. There are some public records searches we could do and a social media trail, but not a lot of hard documentary evidence unless she's willing to share them.
It came up when she was running for Congress last year. One of our reporters confronted her about it last October. She did not show us the immigration records we asked for, only a photo of them on a cellphone. We've asked her these questions, and also asked her to make her father available. We've tried to reach Elmi. We've tried to reach her sisters.
Her family could put this the question of Elmi's relationship to Omar to rest easily. No one will talk to us. I wish we could send a reporter to Mogadishu Somalia but we don't have the bandwidth. We have been slammed by both sides. On the left, people are saying, "Why are you dignifying these unproven allegations? On the right, the complaint has been that we did too little, too late: "This has been the story for years — where have you been? Since the article came out, no one has come forward with smoking-gun, decisive proof that would make it look like we missed something.
You see circumstantial evidence that begs Chat with married ladies Saint-Omer some kind of explanation from a member of Congress, but there's no smoking gun that she married her brother. Subscribe Manage my subscription Activate my subscription Log in Log out.
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Careers Advertise Legal Contact. Log in. Manage my subscription Activate my subscription Log out. PolitiFact: Did Ilhan Omar marry her brother? The Minneapolis Star-Tribune investigated and here's what they found. By Louis Jacobson and PolitiFact. Published Jul. Up next: Along the Space Coast, the legacy of Apollo and dreams of new frontiers are intertwined. High hopes for strong leadership at fast rising USF Jul.
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