WASHINGTON – House Democrats vented their anger Wednesday after the GOP-led chamber ousted Rep. Ilhan Omar from its Foreign Affairs Committee, claiming “white supremacy” was the motive for the move rather than the lawmaker’s past anti-Semitic comments.
“Republicans are waging a blatantly Islamophobic and racist attack on Congresswoman Omar, and I’ve said it before I’ll say it again: The white supremacy happening is unbelievable,” Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.) said at a press conference after Omar (D-Minn.) was booted from the committee.
The GOP cited six of Omar’s prior statements to justify her removal, including a comment during a 2021 committee hearing comparing Israel to terrorist groups Hamas and the Taliban.
The vote – which split among party lines – drew comparisons to Democrat-led votes in the last Congress to remove Reps. Marjorie Taylor-Greene (R-Ga.) and Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) for their own inflammatory comments. Republicans returned them to committees upon gaining their majority last month.
But Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) of the Bronx and Queens rejected that notion, claiming the move amounted to “racism and incitement of violence against women of color.” Omar, one of two Muslim women in the House, was born in Somalia.
“Don’t tell me this is about consistency; don’t tell me that this is about a condemnation of anti-Semitic remarks,” the firebrand Democrat said. “This is about targeting women of color in the United States of America.”
AOC also called the vote “an extension” of the “disgusting legacies after 9/11 … the targeting and racism against Muslim Americans throughout the United States of America.”
Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) – another member of “The Squad” of nine far-left Democratic House members – appeared emotional as she spoke in support of Omar, telling her: “You belong on this committee.”
“Congresswoman Omar, I am so sorry that our country is failing you today through the chamber,” Tlaib said.
While House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said he supported the measure to remove Omar from the committee, he said she was welcome to sit on others. He also denied that the move was made as a “tit-for-tat’ to Democrats for their prior removal of Gosar and Taylor-Greene.
“We’re not removing her from other committees, we just do not believe when it comes to foreign affairs – especially the responsibility of that position around the world with the comments that you make – she shouldn’t serve there.”