Ilhan Omar calls Margaret Thatcher's rise 'inspiring'

Rep. Ilhan Omar is opening up about former United Kingdom Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's "inspiring" influence on her own political journey.

When asked about the words of praise Omar offered to Thatcher in her 2020 memoir, the Minnesota Democrat said the conservative U.K. prime minister helped her believe she could become a politician without help from men.

"I grew up in an environment where women weren't supposed to have a voice and weren't supposed to be in politics, and the only women that rose to political predominance were women who were uplifted by a brother, a father, or a husband that had political connections," Omar told British political program Peston Wednesday. "She was the only one that I knew of that came to politics on her own, not because there was a man ... And it was inspiring, really, to believe that I didn't need my father or my brothers or my husband to be involved in politics."


Omar, considered one of the most liberal Democrats in Congress, first spoke about her admiration for the late U.K. prime minister in her 2020 book, This Is What America Looks Like: My Journey from Refugee to Congresswoman.

"Whenever I am asked which famous person dead or alive I would want to meet if I could, my answer is always without fail Margaret Thatcher," she wrote. "It surprises people that the leader of Britain's Conservative Party is my greatest shero. While her politics aren't mine, she was also a first — the first female prime minister of Britain. Thatcher was a self-starter in the grandest of ways."

But Omar has also criticized her "shero," saying in a 2020 interview that Thatcher "left a very dark mark in history," noting some of the grievances Brits had with the prime minister during her time in office.

Thatcher's legacy is often tied to the 1979-81 recession, in which over 2 million manufacturing jobs were lost and many welfare benefits were rolled back. She led the Conservative Party in the U.K. for 15 years, playing a key role in helping to oversee the fall of the Soviet Union and working to stop socialism, an economic philosophy embodied by self-described "democratic socialist" Omar.

The Iron Lady was also a foil to the Labour Party, the liberal political party more closely aligned with Omar's political views. Thatcher said in 1976, "I would much prefer to bring them down as soon as possible," accusing the left-leaning British party of making "the biggest financial mess that any government's ever made in this country for a very long time."


Omar has long stood for liberal economic and social causes, such as petitioning for wage increases, Medicare for All, and the Green New Deal.

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Tags: News, Ilhan Omar, Margaret Thatcher, United Kingdom, England

Original Author: Kaelan Deese

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