WASHINGTON - Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson attacked Rep. Ilhan Omar for her position on abortion after the freshmen congresswoman mocked him for appearing sleepy during a Congressional hearing.
It started Tuesday when the Minnesota Democrat retweeted a clip of a testy exchange between Carson and Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., in which Pressley explained to the secretary that only a lawmaker can "reclaim" their time during a hearing.
"Not sure he was fully awake, maybe he meant to reclaim his time back to sleep," Omar said of the exchange, which occurred during Carson's appearance before the House Financial Services Committee on Tuesday.
Carson replied with his own tweet on Wednesday afternoon.
"Since you brought it up... I know what it's like to actually be sleepy, especially after 18-hour surgeries and operating on babies in the womb," the former neurosurgeon wrote.
"I hope @IlhanMN knows I care about all people, even those she doesn't recognize as having a right to life."
Omar answered that tweet, telling Carson that homelessness had increased "under your watch" and that "being a brilliant surgeon doesn't make you qualified to run HUD."
On May 14, Omar shared a Mother Jones post featuring Carson's image and the "cruelty and heartlessness" of a proposal to evict immigrants living in the country without legal permission. HUD's own analysis estimates the move could displace as many as 55,000 children who are U.S. citizens or legal residents.
Carson defended the proposal on Tuesday, arguing, "You take care of your own first."
It was not immediately clear why Carson, a staunch abortion opponent, turned the conversation toward that subject.
Omar posted a series of tweets on May 15 denouncing what she sees as "a nationwide assault on the right to an abortion" after Alabama passed a law that bans nearly all abortions, including in cases of rape or incest.
"Reproductive freedom and the constitutional right to an abortion is under attack in many states across our nation. We must fight back against these blatant efforts to restrict and criminalize abortion," she said in one tweet.
"These abortion bans are a part of a larger right-wing strategy: Have their bills be blocked by the lower courts in order to get them in front of the Supreme Court and overturn Roe v. Wade," she said in another.
During the 2016 Republican primary campaign, Carson said he thought the Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, which legalized abortion, should be overturned. He compared abortion to slavery and said he opposed it even in cases of rape or incest.
"All you have to do is go and look up the many stories of people who have led very useful lives who were the result of rape or incest," he explained on "Meet the Press" in October 2015.
Omar also retweeted Soledad O'Brien, who said Carson was trying to "make a joke of being a moron" after he confused the real estate acronym REO and the OREO cookie during Tuesday's hearing.
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Ilhan Omar's abortion stance attacked by HUD Secretary Ben Carson after 'sleep' insult