Ilhan Omar Rebukes Barack Obama for 'Caging of Kids' and 'Droning of Countries Around the World'

Democratic Representative Ilhan Omar has said that criticism of White House policies does not begin and end with President Donald Trump, and fired shots at former President Barack Obama over his administration's treatment of migrant children and controversial drone program.

Omar, one of the two first Muslim women to serve in Congress, called out Trump's predecessor for the "caging of kids" at the United States' southern border with Mexico and for "droning countries around the world" in an interview with Politico published Friday.

The Trump administration ignited a firestorm of controversy when implementing a "zero-tolerance" immigration policy last year that directly led to children being separated from their parents at the border and kept in detention centers. Under the Obama administration, children were also kept in detention centers, but as a matter of practice families were not separated.

The drone program, which began under President George W. Bush but accelerated under Obama, allowed the U.S. to kill alleged terrorists without trial and in countries with which it was not technically at war. Earlier this week, the Trump administration revoked the Obama-era rule requiring reporting of the deaths from drone strikes.

Minnesota Congresswoman Omar suggested that Trump is just less polished with his bad policies than his predecessors.

"We can't be only upset with Trump," she told Politico. "His policies are bad, but many of the people who came before him also had really bad policies. They just were more polished than he was," Omar says. "And that's not what we should be looking for anymore. We don't want anybody to get away with murder because they are polished. We want to recognize the actual policies that are behind the pretty face and the smile."

ilhan omar, barack obama, drone, immigration
Representative Ilhan Omar stands with Representative Sheila Jackson Lee and Representative Ben Ray Lujan as lawmakers speak about the Voting Rights Enhancement Act, H.R. 4, on Capitol Hill, on February 26. Omar fired shots at former President Barack Obama over his administration’s treatment of migrant children and its drone program. Joshua Roberts/Getty Images

Part of the most racially diverse and most female freshman class in congressional history, Omar has not shied away from challenging the status quo since arriving in Washington in January.

"I don't believe that tiptoeing is the way to win the hearts and the minds of the people," she added to Politico. "I get saddened by some of my freshman colleagues who can't understand that within their districts the idea of Medicare for All is extremely popular. The Green New Deal is a very popular idea in their districts."

In recent weeks Omar has found herself under fire for, as critics see it, going too far in her criticisms of U.S. policy toward Israel. In stating that U.S. support was "all about the Benjamins" and questioning some lawmakers' "dual loyalty," she faced accusations of echoing anti-Semitic tropes.

On Thursday, House Democrats introduced a resolution condemning hate and intolerance, including anti-Semitism. Every Democrat voted in favor but 23 Republicans against it criticizing it for being too broad and not calling out Omar's comments specifically.