Don Samuels, a former Minneapolis City Council member and rival of Representative Ilhan Omar, sparked controversy with his recent remarks about Omar’s engagement with her constituents. Speaking on the “The Break Down with Brodkorb and Becky” podcast on November 21, Samuels criticized Omar for her alleged lack of responsiveness to the needs of those she serves.
In the podcast, Samuels expressed his surprise and disapproval at the perceived unresponsiveness of the government, stating, “How can one not be responsive and available to the very people they serve? To not engage with them, to understand their concerns, and to not return their calls?” He controversially added, “You’re not charming enough, nor is your attire impressive enough, nothing about you sufficiently compensates for this shortfall.”
Omar responded to Samuels’ comments on social media, where she strongly condemned his words as sexist and inappropriate. She likened Samuels’ approach to that of Donald Trump, underscoring the importance of maintaining civility in political discourse. Omar criticized Samuels for resorting to “lies and sexism” rather than engaging in a substantive policy debate.
Samuels, who will once again contest Omar in the 2024 elections, narrowly lost to her in the 2022 Democratic primary. During his campaign, he positioned himself as a supporter of law enforcement, frequently challenging Omar’s stance on policing issues. The 2022 primary saw Samuels lose to Omar by a margin of only 2,500 votes, a stark contrast to Omar’s previous primary victory in 2020, where she won by 35,000 votes.