President Donald Trump’s fiery tirade against “The Squad” of progressive Democratic congresswomen, including Rep. Ilhan Omar, has erupted into total Twitter warfare, complete with competing trending hashtags: #IStandWithIlhan and #IStandwithPresTrump.
First came #IStandWithIlhan, a response to the crowd at a Trump rally in Greenville, N.C., erupting into fiery chants of “send her back” and “traitor!” which were directed at the black Muslim House member (although Trump has since attempted to publicly distance himself from the first phrase). That’s when celebrities, fellow politicians and plenty of others — 119K and counting — used the hashtag to come to Omar’s defense.
This is not cute, witty, or benign. This is malignant, dangerous, violent, white supremacist hatred targeting a sitting member of Congress, @IlhanMN, a Black woman, a Muslim. This vitriolic racist, antipathy puts her life in danger.#IStandWithIlhan #RacistPresident pic.twitter.com/Jk5X8uDOhC— Bishop Talbert Swan (@TalbertSwan) July 18, 2019
Supporters of Omar rebuked the “dangerous” talk and “white supremacist hatred” directed at her, thrusting #IStandWithIlhan to the top of the U.S. trending hashtag list on Twitter.
It didn’t take long, though, for Trump’s Twitter base to quickly retaliate with its own hashtag: #IStandwithPresTrump.
Trump’s supporters denied that the calls to “send” Omar back were racist. Instead, they argued that the same message would be said to anyone who disrespected America, its flag or its president, with many doubling down by using #SendHerBack, which also began to quickly gain traction.
#IStandWithPresTrump If you hate our country, customs, history and Constitution, you can leave... whether you're from Sweden or Somalia. It has nothing to do with race whatsoever.— Mark Dice (@MarkDice) July 18, 2019
We are NOT going to be bullied by leftists.— Joy Villa (@Joy_Villa) July 18, 2019
We love our country, our flag and our constitution and we stand with @realDonaldTrump! @DiamondandSilk #IStandWithPresTrump keep it trending! 🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸 pic.twitter.com/idJwrTu2R3
At one point, the #IStandWithPresTrump hashtag broke into the top five U.S. trending list. However, the wave of #IStandWithPresTrump tweets are not all messages of genuine support. Instead, a portion were used ironically or to show disdain for Trump’s supporters online.
Fuck...Trump...— Tony Posnanski (@tonyposnanski) July 18, 2019
Anyone who promotes threatening an American Congresswoman to “go back where you came from” isn’t a patriot.
Trump is an asshole. And so is every single person who supports him.
As far as the Twitterverse goes, Omar appears to be winning the hashtag tug-of-war, with #IStandWithIlhan remaining in the No.1 U.S. hashtag spot for much of the morning.
“In a universe where Twitter trends ruled the land, 80% of US is #IStandWithIlhanOmar and 20% is #IStandWithTrump,” one observer tweeted.
Twitter, of course, may not necessarily be representative of general public opinion. According to the Pew Research Center, its “users are younger and more likely to identify as Democrat” than U.S. adults overall, which would more possibly skew support in Omar’s favor.
Twitter users are also likely to have a specific stance on social issues, according to Pew. “For instance, Twitter users are somewhat more likely to say that immigrants strengthen rather than weaken the country and to see evidence of racial and gender-based inequalities in society,” reads the report.
The current hashtag feud is the latest chapter of controversy that began with a tirade of tweets from Trump directed towards Omar of Minnesota, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, leading to the rare step of the House passing a resolution to condemn his tweets.
Amidst the current hashtag war, Omar herself tweeted a response to the attacks from the crowd at Trump’s rally, with a quote from American poet Maya Angelou.
“But still, like air, I’ll rise,” she tweeted.
You may shoot me with your words,— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) July 18, 2019
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.
-Maya Angelou https://t.co/46jcXSXF0B
See more of the battling tweets below:
I’ll never forget the first time I watched @Ilhan receive a death threat. It came in the mail w/ no return address. She opened it, read it, folded it back up and said “I hope they find peace.”— joelle (@joellestangler) July 18, 2019
She’s not going anywhere. And neither are we.#IStandWithIlhan pic.twitter.com/iUY8cSB3I4
This DM I got this morning nearly broke my heart. To all of the good people in North Carolina who are watching and horrified, we see you. We know you are sick about this racism and are kind and good. This is not your fault. ❤️ #IStandWithIlhan pic.twitter.com/eWJcZxo6IP— Amee Vanderpool (@girlsreallyrule) July 18, 2019
#IStandWithIlhan She is a friend.— Piper Perabo (@PiperPerabo) July 18, 2019
We have talked about Minnesota voters, who she cares about. She cares about students. She supports women. She supports other civically engaged women (that’s how we met!) She is a good mother, citizen, friend and an important member of Congress. pic.twitter.com/NPZLukTRXM
#IStandWithIlhanOmar is trending!!! So y’all stand with someone who refused to Denounce Al Qaeda ?— Terrence K. Williams (@w_terrence) July 18, 2019
Let’s make #IStandWithPresTrump Trend!
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