Ilhan Omar Mocked Tom Cotton for Glorifying Pilgrims and Fearing ‘Actual History’


Representative Ilhan Omar (D-MN) took to Twitter to shut down a U.S. senator who was preoccupied with how we talk about the pilgrims on the Senate floor. Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) spent some time on Wednesday making a speech lamenting the fact that people are honest about the pilgrims now 400 years after they first came to the United States.

Senator Cotton sparked controversy this summer when he wrote a New York Times op-ed arguing that President Donald Trump should deploy the U.S. military against people protesting police brutality. Now, his impassioned defense of the pilgrims — delivered days after his state set new record highs for COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations — had Omar trying to rock his boat.

“Alongside the Patriots of 1776, the Pilgrims of 1620 deserve the honor of American founders,” Cotton said in his speech.

“Sadly, however, there appear to be few commemorations, parades, or festivals to celebrate the Pilgrims this year, perhaps in part because revisionist charlatans of the radical left have lately claimed the previous year as America’s true founding,” he complained. “Some — too many — may have lost the civilizational self-confidence needed to celebrate the Pilgrims.”

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Especially egregious for Cotton was apparently a pumpkin-pie recipe in the New York Times, the paper that published his call for U.S. military force being deployed against protesters.

“Just today, for instance, the New York Times called this [Pilgrim] story a ‘myth’ and a ‘caricature’ — in the Food Section, no less,” Cotton said. Then, he attacked the Pulitzer Prize–winning 1619 Project, a seminal work from Nikole Hannah-Jones for the New York Times Magazine that’s shaped the conversation about slavery and become a favorite target of right-wing critics. Cotton said, “Maybe the politically correct editors of the debunked 1619 Project are now responsible for pumpkin-pie recipes at the Times, as well.”

Omar responded to a clip from Cotton’s speech on Twitter, writing, “When your sense of history doesn’t go beyond your 3rd grade coloring books and actual history terrifies you.”

As Ruth Hopkins wrote for Teen Vogue this month, the first Thanksgiving is surrounded by myths that all seem to glorify the Pilgrims at the expense of the Indigenous Wampanoag tribe who already lived there. That tribe, still surviving and still under threat, has a history emblematic of the United States’ colonial project.





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