The claim: Two Democratic lawmakers are trying to ban the Pledge of Allegiance.
An article has been circulating on Facebook linked to a website called NewsRapter that claims that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., “team up to ban the pledge of allegiance.” The item is dated April 18.
Without citing any source, the item states: “In a desperate attempt to tamp down the fervor of red-blooded American patriots who revere symbols and traditions more than the values they embody, Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (Socialist of New York) and Ilhan Omar (anti-American immigrant, now of Minnesota) are teaming up to ban our sacred Pledge of Allegiance. Yes, patriots, they’re coming for our Pledge of Allegiance.”
On Facebook, NewsRapter bills itself as “the World wide hub Of latest and tech news. We give news on daily bases (sic) stay with us ad (sic) found what’s going on the world.”
Its Facebook page offers a link to the NewsRapter site. The site does not provide an “About Us” link describing who owns or edits the page, nor does it claim to be a satirical publication.
Among its recent offerings is one from April 30, headlined “Hillary offers to be Biden’s running Mate.”
Messages sent to NewsRapter via Facebook Messenger and by email soliciting more information on the site and the claims against the two members of Congress did not elicit an immediate response.
Is there a plan to ban the pledge?
There is no evidence in any public record or legitimate news report of either member of Congress regarding any purported ban on the Pledge of Allegiance.
Regarding the Pledge of Allegiance issue, Omar, during a heated debate on a planned resolution in the House condemning anti-Semitism, questioned the level of support for Israel by some members of Congress, tweeting: “I should not be expected to have allegiance/pledge support to a foreign country in order to serve my country in Congress or serve on committee.”
The remark clearly was referring to her views on the support for Israel by some members of Congress and was not about the Pledge of Allegiance to the U.S. flag.
The anti-Semitism resolution was proposed in response to comments by Omar, for which she later apologized, suggesting that members of Congress are paid by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee to support Israel.
Later, however, she returned to the theme in a panel discussion in Washington, in which she referred to criticism over her earlier remarks. At one point she said, “I want to talk about the political influence in this country that says it is O.K. for people to push for allegiance to a foreign country.”
Ocasio-Cortez defended Omar against charges of anti-Semitism.
Our democracy is built on debate, Congresswoman! I should not be expected to have allegiance/pledge support to a foreign country in order to serve my country in Congress or serve on committee. The people of the 5th elected me to serve their interest. I am sure we agree on that! https://t.co/gglAS4FVJW
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) March 3, 2019
In addition, in July 2019, a website called Taters Gonna Tate ran an item purportedly quoting another member of Congress, Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., as saying that the Pledge of Allegiance would be illegal in Michigan, her home state.
Tlaib, a daughter of Palestinian immigrants, and Omar, who was born in Somalia, are Muslims. They frequently are political allies with Ocasio-Cortez.
Taters Gonna Tate, however, bills itself as a satirical site and goes to extraordinary lengths to emphasize that it is not offering straight news. Among its disclaimers to those billing its articles as fake news, Taters Gonna Tate says, “Call it whatever you like. Just don’t call it something it isn’t. Don’t email us asking for a ‘source.’ Don’t inform us that our stories aren’t true. We have so many disclaimers now that the disclaimers are satirical. We make sure the words ‘satire’ or ‘fiction’ appear in EVERY category BEFORE the story. Twice.”
The byline on the Tlaib article is given as “Rod Gozinya Satire and/or Conservative Fan Fiction.”
Our ruling: False
There is no evidence that either Ocasio-Cortez or Omar is trying to ban the Pledge of Allegiance, based on our research. This is FALSE.
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact Check: Omar, Ocasio-Cortez not trying to ban Pledge of Allegiance