Jan 29, 2023
Ilhan Omar Sees GOP Support for Keeping Her Foreign Affairs Seat
(Bloomberg) -- Democrat Ilhan Omar expressed confidence that she’ll keep her seat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, saying allegations she is antisemitic are part of efforts by political foes to smear her.
“To insinuate that I knowingly said these things, when people have read into my comments to make it sound as if I have something against the Jewish communities, is so wrong,” Omar said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
Democrats voted by unanimous consent during a closed-door meeting last week to allow Omar to remain on the committee despite accusations she used antisemitic tropes in past comments, for which she has apologized.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has said he would like to remove Omar, setting up a potential floor vote in the closely divided chamber. Republican leaders could propose the resolution to drop the Minnesota Democrat from the committee as early as Monday.
Omar said two Republicans have publicly said they will not remove her, while others have done so privately. To “smear someone and their character, and their love for their country and the work that they get to do on a committee, is wrong,” she said.
“I wasn’t aware of the fact that there are tropes about Jews and money,” she said.
Read More: Ilhan Omar’s Foreign Affairs Seat Looms as Potential Floor Fight
Representative Adam Schiff, a California Democrat who is Jewish, backed Omar during a joint appearance on CNN, calling the argument that she’s antisemitic “a pretext” driven by McCarthy’s dependence on “extreme members” of his caucus. He cited former President Donald Trump’s dinner with a white nationalist last year at his home in Florida.
McCarthy last week said he was blocking Schiff and another California Democrat, Eric Swalwell, from serving on the House Intelligence Committee, making good on a long-standing promise.
Read More: McCarthy Blocks Two Democrats From Rejoining Intelligence Panel
Schiff last week called the decision “petty, political payback” for investigating Trump. Schiff was lead manager in the former president’s first impeachment trial and McCarthy said Schiff lied when serving as chairman of the panel, which Schiff denies.
Swalwell, also appearing on CNN on Sunday, said McCarthy is “weaponizing his ability to commit this political abuse because he perceives me, just like Mr. Schiff and Ms. Omar, as an effective political opponent.”
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