Watch CBS News

'Focus On The Present': Rep. Ilhan Omar Talks With Esme Murphy About 'Shaking Things Up' In Washington

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- She's been at the center of a political whirlwind in Washington.

Minnesota Congresswoman Ilhan Omar has faced criticism from President Donald Trump, threats against her safety, and today, an accusation that she broke up a marriage.

The Democrat is mentioned in a Washington D.C. divorce filing, calling Omar the other woman.

Our Esme Murphy sat down with the congresswoman today. We began by asking about the claim that she is the other woman in this D.C. divorce filing.

WCCO asked, "Are you separated from your husband? Are you dating somebody?"

The Congresswoman replied, "No, I am not. As I said yesterday, I have no interest in allowing the conversation about my personal life to continue and so I have no desire to discuss it."

Rep. Omar also declined to discuss continued accusations that at one point she married her brother for immigration purposes -- an allegation that first surfaced three years ago and that she repeatedly has called absurd.

WCCO asked, "You seem completely unphased and unbowed by negative publicity about your personal life that you don't want to comment on. How do you do it?"

Omar answered, "I know who I am. The people who I love know who I am and what I care about. I have three beautiful little children and a family to care for, so for me, my focus is doing the work that I feel I was destined to do."

READ MORE: Maryland State Senator: I Didn't Send Tweet Calling Rep. Ilhan Omar An 'Illegal'

In a short nine months in Congress, Omar has become a national and even international figure in her public sparring with President Trump, who infamously told her and three other progressive freshman congresswomen to go back to the countries they came from.

"I would continue to make that case to him, to put his personal vendettas aside and to focus on the task ahead of doing the work for the American people," Omar said.

As for the President's "going back" comment, Omar likes to focus on the tumultuous welcome she recently got at the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport. She said,"It felt like being home because this is my home."

She says her perspective is always shaped by the little girl, who for years, was in a refugee camp.

"I know as someone who has dealt with hunger, real hunger," Omar said.

WCCO asked if all of the attention ever feels overwhelming.

"No, not really. It never feels overwhelming because I understand if I wasn't shaking things up people wouldn't be as rattled by my presence," Omar said.

Omar likes to focus on issues she has championed, like raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour. And she again dismisses the constant threats she receives to her own safety.

"I am comfortable in how long I am going to be on this earth, and when the time comes when I'm no longer here. That is why I so much focus on the present and the impact that I can have," Omar said.

Omar is set to host a community forum on immigration at the Colin Powell Center in Minneapolis Tuesday night.

READ MORE: Conservative Activist Laura Loomer Files $2M Lawsuit Over Phone Grabbing Incident At Ilhan Omar Event

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.