MP Ilhan Omar criticizes McCarthy for threatening to remove her from the committee ~ Washington


Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) fired back at House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) on Monday after he again threatened to remove her from the House Foreign Affairs Committee because he labeled them “repeatedly anti-Semitic and anti-Semitic-American comments.”

McCarthy, who is targeting to become Speaker of the House in January, reiterated the vow several times over the weekend, including during a television interview and during an appearance before a Republican Jewish Coalition meeting in Las Vegas. Republicans are poised to claim a narrow majority in the House of Representatives in the next Congress.

“McCarthy’s efforts to repeatedly single me out for contempt and hatred — including threatening to remove me from my committee — do nothing to address the issues our constituents are grappling with,” Omar said in a statement.

“What it does is fear and hate against Somali-Americans and anyone who shares my identity, and further divide us along racial and ethnic lines,” she added. “It is the continuation of an ongoing campaign against Muslim and African voices, people that his party has been trying to ban since Donald Trump first ran for office.”

If McCarthy is elected speaker, he would not have the unilateral power to remove Omar from the Foreign Affairs Committee. It would require a vote of the whole House.

McCarthy tweeted a clip of his Las Vegas performance on Saturday night, saying he will “keep the promise” to remove Omar.

“I remember what she said about Israel,” McCarthy told the crowd. “I remember what she said about the relationship. I remember so well that I promised you last year that she would no longer serve as foreign affairs speaker. I keep that promise.”

Omar has been repeatedly accused of making anti-Semitic statements.

In early 2019, as a freshman, she apologized for implying that Israel’s allies in US politics were motivated by money rather than principle.

A tweet in which she said, “It’s all about Benjamin’s baby” — a reference to $100 bills — drew immediate denunciations from Republicans and other Democrats, particularly Jewish congressmen.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and the Democrat leadership called Omar’s “use of anti-Semitic language and biased allegations against Israel’s supporters” deeply offensive and insisted that she apologize.

“Anti-Semitism is real and I am grateful for Jewish allies and colleagues who are enlightening me on the painful history of anti-Semitic tropes,” Omar said at the time. “It is never my intention to offend my constituents or Jewish Americans as a whole. … So my apologies unequivocally.”

On Monday, Omar accused the GOP of hypocrisy for allowing anti-Semitism within its ranks, noting that McCarthy accused wealthy Jewish liberals of trying to “buy” elections in 2018. And Islamophobia and xenophobia by some of the country’s most influential Republicans, Omar said, has jeopardized the life and safety of one of the first Muslim women to serve in Congress on numerous occasions.

“Whether it’s Marjorie Taylor Greene holding a gun next to my head in campaign ads, or Donald Trump threatening to ‘turn me back’ to my country (despite the fact that I’ve been a proud citizen of the United States for more than 20 years ), this constant stream of hate has resulted in hundreds of death threats and credible conspiracies against me and my family,” she said in her statement.

“At the same time, they have openly tolerated anti-Semitism, anti-Muslim hatred and racism within their own party,” Omar added.

In February 2021, the House of Representatives voted along the party line to remove Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) from her committee duties as a censure for espousing extremist beliefs.

Greene had been an open supporter of the QAnon ideology, a sprawling and violent web of false claims that played a role in inspiring the January 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol. Additionally, she had made comments on social media suggesting that some mass shootings had been staged by gun control advocates, that the 9/11 attacks were orchestrated by government forces, and that a deadly wildfire had been ignited by a Jewish cabal using a space beam.

McCarthy has indicated that Greene will receive her preferred committee assignments if the GOP has a majority in January.

In October, Trump attacked American Jews in a post on his Truth Social platform, saying Jews in the United States need to “pull themselves up” and show more appreciation for the State of Israel “before it’s too late.”

American Jews have long been accused of being more loyal to Israel than the United States, and Trump’s post drew on this anti-Semitic trope, suggesting that American Jews should show more appreciation for Israel because of their religion.

Trump also complained in the post that “no president” has done more for Israel than he has, but that Christian evangelicals appreciate it “much more than people of the Jewish faith, especially people living in the United States.”