House Democrats are rallying behind one of their most extreme members, Ilhan Omar (D-MN), as House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) pushes to boot her from the influential Foreign Affairs Committee.
The move to punish Omar comes after years of complaints about her inflammatory anti-American and anti-Israel rhetoric.
Dems backing Omar
Early in her congressional career, the Democrat was accused of using anti-Semitic cliches and downplaying 9/11, which she described as “some people who did something.” Despite backlash, she has continued to spread radical vitriol, even comparing the U.S. and Israel to the Taliban.
While Omar has faced occasional reprimands from Democrats in the past, Democrats, as they inevitably do, are sticking together now that her committee seat is in jeopardy.
Dean Phillips, a Jewish Democrat (MN), said he plans to support Omar despite her history of “painful” rhetoric.
“She’s deeply troubled by the Israeli government. But that doesn’t mean that there shouldn’t be a voice on the Foreign Affairs Committee, even if it is painful for me,” he said.
Tit for tat
Earlier this week, McCarthy removed notorious “Russian collusion” conspiracy theorist Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Eric Swalwell (D-CA), known for his past ties to a Chinese spy, from the House Intelligence Committee.
McCarthy’s moves come as payback after former Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) took the unprecedented step of removing Republicans Marjorie Taylor Greene (GA), now a close McCarthy ally, and Paul Gosar (AZ) from their committees in 2021.
Democrats, now in the minority, have changed their tune about forcing members off committees.
In an angry statement, Schiff, Swalwell, and Omar complained that McCarthy “has capitulated to the right wing of his caucus, undermining the integrity of the Congress, and harming our national security in the process.”
While McCarthy was able to unilaterally remove Schiff and Swalwell, a floor vote is necessary to boot Omar because Foreign Affairs is a standing committee.
There’s a chance McCarthy’s effort will founder, with two members of his narrow majority, Victoria Spartz (IN) and Nancy Mace (SC) saying they’ll support Omar.
At a Wednesday press conference, Democratic caucus chair Pete Aguilar (CA) predicted Omar would win enough “bipartisan” support to stay put. But moderate Don Bacon (R-NE) has hinted that Democrats may pay a price for the vindictive way they treated Republicans while in the majority.
“I’ll listen to the debate and review comments she’s made. But, the Dems should not be surprised by this. Pelosi set a new standard on how the majority treats the minority,” he said.