Stand up for the facts!

Our only agenda is to publish the truth so you can be an informed participant in democracy.
We need your help.

More Info

I would like to contribute

Bill McCarthy
By Bill McCarthy September 19, 2019

Trump retweets false claim that Ilhan Omar partied on 9/11 anniversary


President Donald Trump retweeted a post that falsely claimed U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., was out partying on the anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks. 

The allegation came via a video posted by conservative comedian Terrence Williams, who falsely declared that Omar "partied on the anniversary of 9/11." 

In his video, Williams weighed in on footage of Omar dancing in a crowd to the song "Truth Hurts" by Lizzo. But the tape of Omar dancing wasn’t filmed on Sept. 11. 

It actually came from an event hosted two days later, on Sept. 13, by Omar and four other first-term congresswomen who are members of the Congressional Black Caucus. 

The backstory

The footage of Omar dancing was first posted to Twitter on the night of the event by Adam Green, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, a political action committee. "Can someone name something better than @IlhanMN dancing to @lizzo?" Green wrote. "Because I can’t think of anything."

Jeremy Slevin, communications director for Omar, shared a copy of a flyer advertising the event, which was billed as lasting two hours and titled "Breaking Concrete Ceilings."

Three days after the event, on Sept. 16, Williams uploaded his own video in a tweet that claimed Omar, a Muslim, "partied on the anniversary of 9/11."

"What in the world were you celebrating on the anniversary of 9/11?" Williams said in the video, which showed the recording of Omar, according to "You were seriously partying on the anniversary of 9/11? Turning up, while millions of Americans were at home mourning all the lives that were lost." 

On Sept. 18, Trump retweeted Williams’ video and said Omar is "the new face of the Democratic Party" and "will win us the great state of Minnesota."

Omar responded roughly two hours later. 

"This is from a CBC event we hosted this weekend to celebrate black women in Congress," she wrote. "The president of the United States is continuing to spread lies that put my life at risk. What is Twitter doing to combat this misinformation?"

Williams’ claim was quickly debunked by journalists and fact-checkers, and Omar tweeted a few more times about Trump spreading it. She also retweeted a petition from Green’s political action committee urging Twitter to suspend Trump’s account until he removes his tweet.

The video has since been removed from Williams’ Twitter and Facebook accounts. But Williams, who did not respond to a request for comment, doubled down on his criticisms of Omar, calling in a series of tweets for her to be impeached for labeling Trump a racist. (Members of Congress can be expelled by their respective chamber, but they cannot be impeached.) 

For his part, Trump tweeted about Williams twice more the same morning he shared the attack on Omar. In August, he also retweeted a video in which Williams suggested without evidence that Bill and Hillary Clinton were behind the death of disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein.   

Trump has spread falsehoods related to Omar before, wrongly claiming in July that she was "speaking about how wonderful al-Qaeda is." Omar drew criticism from some quarters in March for saying "some people did something" in reference to the attacks on the World Trade Center.

The Trump campaign declined to comment.

For the record, Omar spent at least part of her night on Sept. 11 speaking alongside Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib and Ayanna Pressley at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation conference, according to a video on her Facebook page. 

Slevin said Omar did not attend the other receptions put on for the conference that evening, and he confirmed that she was not dancing at any other event held that day.

Slevin also said Omar went to committees and votes during the day. We counted at least six votes she cast in the House between about 4:30 and 5:30 p.m. on Sept. 11.

Our ruling

Trump retweeted a post that said Ilhan Omar "partied" on the anniversary of 9/11.

The bogus allegation, shared by a comedian with an assist from Trump, who broadcast it to his 64 million Twitter followers, was based on a video that shows Omar dancing at a Congressional Black Caucus event. But the event was hosted on Sept. 13, not on Sept. 11.

We rate this statement Pants on Fire!

Our Sources

Terrence K. Williams on Twitter, Sept. 18, 2019

Donald J. Trump on Twitter, Sept. 18, 2019

Ilhan Omar on Twitter, Sept. 18, 2019

Ilhan Omar on Twitter, Sept. 18, 2019 on Twitter, Sept. 18, 2019 on Twitter, Sept. 18, 2019

Adam Green on Twitter, Sept. 13, 2019

Ilhan Omar on Facebook, Sept. 11, 2019

House of Representatives, "Roll Call Votes 116th Congress - 1st Session (2019)," accessed Sept. 19, 2019

Congressional Black Caucus Foundation conference, "Full Schedule," accessed Sept. 19, 2019

Politico, "Ilhan Omar urges Twitter to take down Trump's false tweet," Sept. 18, 2019, "Trump Retweets False Attack on Rep. Omar," Sept. 18, 2019

PolitiFact, "Donald Trump twists Ilhan Omar’s comments about al-Qaida," July 16, 2019

PolitiFact, "There’s no evidence that the Clintons were involved in Jeffrey Epstein’s death," Aug. 12, 2019

PolitiFact, "In context: ‘Some people did something,’" April 14, 2019

Email interview with Jeremy Slevin, communications director for Rep. Ilhan Omar, Sept. 18, 2019

Browse the Truth-O-Meter

More by Bill McCarthy

Trump retweets false claim that Ilhan Omar partied on 9/11 anniversary

Support independent fact-checking.
Become a member!

In a world of wild talk and fake news, help us stand up for the facts.

Sign me up