[guest post by Dana]
House Republicans…voted to oust Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., from the Foreign Affairs Committee… Speaker Kevin McCarthy initially had faced a handful of GOP defections, but by Thursday he and his team had whipped GOP members back in line, and 218 Republicans voted to back the resolution condemning Omar for past antisemitic comments and removing her from the committee. One Republican, Rep. Dave Joyce, R-Ohio, a senior member of the Ethics Committee, voted present.
Democrats were unified in their support of Omar.
During her floor speech before the vote, the representative accused Republicans of bigotry, believing that she was being ousted for being a Muslim immigrant from Africa. She did not mention her previous use of anti-semitic tropes, which had resulted in a rebuke by fellow Democrats, and ultimately (according to Republicans) led to today’s vote.
From her speech:
“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.
“Well, I am Muslim,” she added. “I am an immigrant, and interestingly, from Africa. Is anyone surprised that I am being targeted? Is anyone surprised that I am somehow deemed unworthy to speak about American foreign policy? Or that they see me as a powerful voice that needs to be silenced?”
House Minority Leader Hakeem Jefferies defended Omar and accused Republicans of having a “quadruple” standard and that the impending ouster of the representative was “political revenge”. However, he also acknowledged that her past anti-semitic comments had gotten her in trouble:
“Rep. Omar certainly has made mistakes,” Jeffries told reporters. “Ilhan Omar has apologized. She has indicated that she’ll learn from her mistakes, is working to build bridges….with the Jewish community.”
The resolution was introduced by Rep. Max Miller from Ohio:
Omar “has disqualified herself from serving on the Committee on Foreign Affairs, a panel that is viewed by nations around the world as speaking for Congress on matters of international importance and national security.”
Miller, who is one of two Jewish Republicans in the House, said in a statement that Omar “cannot be an objective decision-maker on the Foreign Affairs Committee given her biases against Israel and against the Jewish people.”