A local Democratic party is demanding a Florida mayor resign after he called Rep. Ilhan Omar, a Minnesota Democrat, an “anti-Semitic socialist” in a campaign advertisement.
“Yep, that’s me giving Ilhan Omar the key to the city. I didn’t know her politics then, nor that she is an anti-Semitic socialist,” mayor and congressional candidate Randy Henderson says in the advertisement. “Watching that now makes me sick. I’ve had to show respect to all kinds of people as mayor. I even had to welcome Bill Clinton to town. But I’m done playing nice with people who won’t show respect to President Trump.”
Henderson, the mayor of Fort Myers, is running to replace retiring Rep. Francis Rooney, a fellow Florida Republican.
The chairwoman of the Lee County Democrats called on Henderson to resign from the mayorship, calling the advertisement inappropriate and shocking.
“As mayor of Fort Myers, I have relied on conservative principles to oversee our booming city,” Henderson says in the ad. “I’m running for Congress because President Trump doesn’t need more radicals in Congress pushing partisan impeachment.”
“If you send me to Congress, I’ll represent your values, be an ally to President Trump, and I’ll get that key back,” Henderson says.
Henderson gave Omar an honorary key to the city before she was a member of Congress. The African Network of Southwest Florida requested Henderson give Omar a key to the city when she visited as a guest of the group.
Henderson’s campaign defended the ad, saying a “liberal mob” was distorting facts.
“As the liberal mob continues to distort the facts and manufactures false stories, the people of Fort Myers know that Mayor Henderson will never stop fighting against the socialism and anti-Semitism that is being peddled by Ilhan Omar and her supporters,” a campaign spokesman told the News-Press.
Henderson may have to resign from the mayorship regardless of Democratic backlash to the ad because of Florida’s “resign to run” law.
The organization StopAntiSemitism.org named Omar the 2019 “Anti-Semite of the Year.”
“Among Rep. Ilhan Omar’s transgressions, she perpetuated anti-Semitic tropes on Twitter to nearly two million followers and introduced an anti-Semitic resolution in Congress that promoted boycotts of the State of Israel and likened them to boycotts of Nazi Germany,” the organization said in a statement.
Omar’s history of offensive comments includes references to Israel hypnotizing the world. She also suggested criticisms of her resulted from the anti-Semitic “dual-loyalty” trope and tweeted that pro-Israel politicians were being paid off by a pro-Israel lobbying group.
Omar said she does not regret her comments.
(Reporting by Graham Piro)