House Republicans voted to remove Rep. Ilhan Omar from the House Foreign Affairs Committee after she made a series of anti-Semitic remarks.
House Republicans voted Thursday to remove Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar from the House Foreign Affairs Committee after she made a series of remarks widely condemned by members of both parties as anti-Semitic.
- The resolution kicking Omar off the Foreign Affairs committee passed on a largely party-line 218-211 vote. The measure was sponsored by Rep. Max Miller, who is one of two Jewish Republicans in the House.
- Removing members of Congress from committees was essentially unprecedented before House Democrats ousted GOP Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene and Paul Gosar from their committee spots in 2021. At the time, Republicans promised Democrats would rue creating this precedent.
- Rep. Omar blamed her ouster not on her 2019 remarks, which then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi condemned as anti-Semitic, but on GOP bigotry. She accused Republicans of removing her because she is a Muslim woman who came to America as a refugee from Somalia.
- Regardless, Omar quickly began fundraising off of her ouster. The Minnesota Congresswoman sent an email asking for contributions within hours of the vote.
- The successful vote was a victory for House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, who secured the resolution’s passage even as Republicans only have a slim majority in the House and several Republicans wavered on supporting the measure on due process or free speech grounds.
- McCarthy announced on Thursday he would ask a bipartisan group of lawmakers to write a code of conduct for members of the House of Representatives. The current code of conduct is mainly concerned with financial issues and doesn’t cover issues like anti-Semitism or violently threatening colleagues.
- After kicking Omar off Foreign Affairs, the House voted on a resolution denouncing socialism, which passed by a wide 328-86-14 margin with support from lawmakers from both parties. All Republicans and 109 Democrats – a majority of House Democrats – voted for the measure.
- The Washington Post noted the resolution explicitly referenced Omar’s infamous 2019 remarks. “The resolution Thursday explicitly condemned Omar for using an antisemitic trope in 2019 to suggest Israel’s allies in U.S. politics were motivated by money rather than principle when she tweeted, ‘It’s all about the Benjamins, baby.’”
- Omar linked her removal with the “birther” conspiracy theories from the early years of Barack Obama’s presidency, according to NBC News. “There is this idea that you are a suspect if you are an immigrant or if you are from certain parts of the world or a certain skin tone or a Muslim. It is no accident that members of the Republican Party accused the first Black president, Barack Obama, of being a secret Muslim,” Omar said.
- CNN recalled another set of anti-Semitic comments Omar made more than 2 years after the initial controversy. “In 2021, a group of Jewish House Democrats accused Omar of equating the US and Israel with the Taliban and Hamas, the Palestinian militant group designated as a terrorist organization by the US.”
- The Wall Street Journal covered McCarthy’s statement that Omar’s ouster was not a revenge play as many Democrats claimed. McCarthy “said that the removals weren’t ‘tit for tat’ and that the intelligence and foreign affairs panels were particularly sensitive.”
- Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez blamed Omar’s ouster on racism and anti-Muslim bigotry, according to the Washington Examiner. “I think one of the things that we should talk about, and what is one of the disgusting legacies after 9/11, has been the targeting and racism against Muslim Americans throughout the United States of America, and this is an extension of that legacy,” said Ocasio-Cortez in a speech on the House floor.
- “Congresswoman Ilhan Omar is never more alive than when she believes she’s being persecuted, which, to hear her tell it, is often,” wrote Noah Rothman in Commentary. “Whether it’s the Israel lobby, the Jews, her fellow Democrats, the Jews, MAGA Republicans, or the Jews, everyone is out to get Rep. Omar. In her estimation, this is a product of everyone else’s pathologies, never her own… Between the serious lapses in judgment, the regular anti-Semitic episodes, and the precedent justifying Republican actions, Omar does not have a serious case to make in her defense. She is not a victim of forces beyond her control.”
© Dominic Moore, 2023