Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and "The Squad" – consisting of her, Reps. Rashida Tlaib (MI), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) – have made a name for themselves as progressive darlings. They're a firebrand that has ignited grassroots progressives. While that's great in theory, it also exposes one issue: the middle-of-the-road Democrats, you know, what the Democratic Party used to be.
In the past, Rep. Collin Peterson (D-MN), Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, defended Omar's comments about 9/11, when she said "some people did something."
“I think she was trying to say that some people in her community feel like they’re being targeted," Peterson said last year.
Earlier this week the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) asked Peterson why he defended Omar's comments. Now, it looks as though he's doing his best to distance himself from the freshman congresswoman, the New York Post reported.
“Do you have any comment as to why you defended Ilhan Omar?” an NRCC staffer asked.
“I don’t defend her. She doesn’t belong in our party,” Peterson, who has served Minnesota's 7th Congressional District since 1991, told the NRCC.
Peterson was asked to clarify and expand on his position.
"She doesn’t belong in our party,” he said as he walked away.
It's clear that Peterson is attempting to distance himself from Omar and the rest of "The Squad." He's facing a tough election against Republican Michelle Fischbach, the former Minnesota Lieutenant Governor.
It's not surprising that people like Peterson are distancing themselves from people like Omar. The Squad's rhetoric and policy stances are harmful to people to rural America. The Green New Deal threatens farmers' way of life. "Defunding" the police (when it is really about abolishing law enforcement) gives small towns and communities across the Midwest anxiety. It means that riots like what took place in Kenosha, Wisconsin, can come to a place near them. It's no longer just something that happens in major cities. It's now something that can – and will – happen in small towns and cities no one has ever heard of. Embracing people like Omar means they support this kind of agenda, even if their constituents don't. That's a liability in an election year.