Reps. Ilhan Omar and Jim Banks clashed on social media Wednesday night after the Democratic congresswoman said she was “stricken” with post-traumatic stress disorder due to recent developments between the U.S. and Iran.
Speaking during a news conference with other Democrats on Wednesday, Ms. Omar said, “Every time I hear of conversations around war, I find myself being stricken with PTSD.”
Mr. Banks, Indiana Republican, slammed the remark on Twitter, saying it diminished U.S. soldiers and veterans who “really do” suffer from PTSD.
“This is a disgrace and offensive to our nation’s veterans who really do have PTSD after putting their life on the line to keep America safe,” Mr. Banks wrote.
Rep. Ilhan Omar complained she’s “stricken with PTSD” because of recent events in the Middle East.— Jim Banks (@RepJimBanks) January 8, 2020
This is a disgrace and offensive to our nation’s veterans who really do have PTSD after putting their life on the line to keep America safe. pic.twitter.com/twhZDuUDu0
Ms. Omar, who fled war-torn Somalia when she was 8 years old, called Mr. Banks’ tweet “shameful.”
“Hi Jim, I survived war as a child and deal with post-traumatic stress disorder—much like many who have served or lived through war,” she tweeted. “It’s shameful that you as a member of Congress would erase the PTSD of survivors.”
Mr. Banks then retweeted a video from Wednesday showing Ms. Omar laughing and chatting with colleagues while standing behind Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee as she spoke to reporters about the thousands of U.S. servicemembers killed in the Iraq War.
“No @IlhanMN - you can’t change the subject,” Mr. Banks wrote. “Your words and actions at today’s press conference reveal your feelings toward our soldiers serving abroad and the video speaks for itself.”
Ms. Omar responded in a pair of tweets Thursday afternoon, offering a peek into what she experienced as a child.
“The trauma of war is not only felt by the soldier on the battlefield,” she wrote. “It is felt by the child huddled under the bed as bombs go off outside her window. I am that child and here in Congress I will always speak out against war.
“War trauma never leaves you,” she added. “Engaging in armed conflict never creates stability. It only costs lives and futures.”
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