PBS, CNN Reporters Defend Ilhan Omar Against Marriage Fraud Allegations

Zachary Stieber
By Zachary Stieber
July 18, 2019Politics
PBS, CNN Reporters Defend Ilhan Omar Against Marriage Fraud Allegations
Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) in Washington on Jan. 10, 2019. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

PBS and CNN reporters were among those defending Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) against allegations that she married her brother, with one claiming the allegations have been “discredited.”

The reactions came after One America News reporter Emerald Robinson asked President Donald Trump on July 17 if Omar would be investigated for marriage fraud.

“There’s a lot of talk about the fact that she was married to her brother,” he responded. “I know nothing about it, I hear she was married to her brother. You’re asking a question about it. I don’t know, but I’m sure there’s somebody [who] would be looking at that.”

Among those criticizing Trump was PBS reporter Yamicha Alcindor, who made the claim that the allegations were definitively debunked.

“As President Trump readies to speak at his NC rally, it’s important to note that today he spoke about a discredited conspiracy theory about Rep. Omar marrying her brother,” Alcindor wrote on Twitter. “Omar has said the claim is ‘absurd and offensive.'”

She linked to a story from the Snopes website, which labeled the allegations “unproven.”

CNN’s Jim Acosta suggested that since Omar denied being married to her brother, there was nothing more to report.

“Congresswoman Omar has denied this and other claims about her as ‘disgusting lies.’ But Trump was willing to dive right in,” he wrote on Twitter.

NowThis News also shared a video of Trump answering Robinson’s question, claiming the allegations are “a far-right conspiracy theory.” The Washington Examiner was among the outlets reporting on Trump’s comments, adding: “Some right-wing sites contend that her ex-husband is really her brother, a claim Omar has vigorously denied.”

Omar was ordered in June to repay thousands of dollars for violating campaign finance rules, including filing a joint tax return with one man when she was still married to another.

PJ Media reporter David Steinberg is one of several reporters and bloggers who have probed Omar’s background. He has said he found evidence supporting the allegations, including pictures and address records.

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune published a lengthy article in June examining Omar’s marriage history in light of the campaign finance investigation conclusions. The paper said it searched public records—including available databases, the marriage and divorce filing, business licenses, university records, and other documents—and could not find conclusive confirmation of the allegation, nor anything that could rebut it.

“Sent a list of questions and a request to talk to her siblings and father, Omar declined to do so,” it reported.

Omar’s current husband did not reply to multiple calls, texts, and e-mails, while her ex-husband, who is believed to be living in Africa, did not respond to multiple e-mails.”

An Omar spokesman told the paper that the allegation about Omar being married to her brother is one of a number of “conspiracy theories and false accusations about her personal life.”

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