Democrats Attack Republican’s ‘Islamophobic’ Removal of Rep. Omar from HFAC, Blame Racism, Xenophobia, ‘White Supremacy’

Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., is seen after the House voted to remove her from the House Forei
Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Democrats attacked the “Islamophobic” removal of Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) from the House Foreign Affairs Committee, shouting “No!” to the decision they blamed on racism, xenophobia, and “white supremacy,” as they accused Republicans of merely targeting a Muslim woman of color.

On Thursday, the House voted along party lines to remove the Somali-born Democrat from her seat on the Foreign Affairs Committee through a resolution citing her past remarks on Jews and Israel.

Omar closed the debate by noting her Muslim immigrant background, asking, “Is anyone surprised that I am being targeted?”

The vote passed 218 to 211, with all Democrats voting against the resolution and only one Republican, Rep. David Joyce (R-OH), voting “present.”

Democrats could be heard screaming “Nooo!” during the vote.

The move follows Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s vow to do so last year, citing Omar’s “antisemitic” and “anti-American” comments.

In response to the decision, Democrats lost themselves in defending the Minnesota “Squad” member and condemning her removal.

St. Louis & I rise in support of Rep. @Ilhan whose work on the Foreign Affairs Committee has made this institution a better place,” said fellow “Squad” member Rep. Cori Bush (D-MO).

“Rep. Omar has been repeatedly harassed by GOP Members for existing as a Muslim woman, & this resolution is yet another racist, xenophobic attack,” she added.

Speaking at the debate, Bush accused Republicans of “waging a blatantly Islamophobic and racist attack” on Omar. 

“The white supremacy happening is unbelievable. This is despicable … This is just a bunch of racist gaslighting,” she said.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) called the move an extension of the “disgusting” post-9/11 legacy of the targeting of and racism toward Muslim Americans throughout the U.S. 

“This is about targeting women of color in the United States,” she said.

Admitting that Omar “has, at times, used words that have caused concern, offense and even personal pain to me and others,” Rep. Dean Phillips (D-MN) defended her presence on the committee due to “the human capacity to learn from mistakes.”

“Canceling @Ilhan is wrong, embarrassing, and the very weaponization of antisemitism that I, a Jewish person, find shameful,” he wrote.

“The highly partisan vote to remove @Ilhan was not about accountability. It was about political revenge,” wrote Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY).

“I will move immediately to seat Rep. Omar on the House Budget Committee. Where she will defend Democratic values against right-wing extremism,” he added.

Breaking down in tears, Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) emotionally decried that “our country is failing” Omar, accusing the GOP of “doing what it is best at: weaponizing hate against a black, beautiful, Muslim woman.” 

“Don’t come here looking at us for antisemitism,” said Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA). “Look in your own damn mirror before you ever come over here.” 

“I stand with @Ilhan. This revenge resolution is nothing more than a distraction from a Republican Party that has absolutely no real legislation to bring to the floor to help the American people,” wrote Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA).

“We will put her back on Foreign Affairs Committee in two years when we flip the House,” wrote Ted Lieu (D-CA). “Guaranteed.”

“Removing Rep. @Ilhan Omar from the Foreign Affairs Committee is an incredible act of hypocrisy and cowardice from @SpeakerMcCarthy and the @HouseGOP,” wrote Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA).

Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN) accused Republicans of focusing on “petty political stunts.”

Omar has a history of controversy, having been accused repeatedly of being antisemitic and anti-American, including past statements accusing Israel of being an “apartheid regime” that has “hypnotized the world,” and claiming pro-Israel stances of politicians are “all about the Benjamins.”

On Thursday, the House Speaker reiterated why Omar is “unfit to represent the U.S. on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.”

In June, Rep. Guy Reschenthaler (R-PA) blasted the “Squad” member, claiming she was unfit to serve in Congress, after the congresswoman equated the United States and Israel to Hamas terrorists and the Taliban.

“Omar is an antisemite who hates America and hates American troops,” he said. “She has no place serving in Congress.”

In 2019, then-Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) defended Omar, telling reporters that while Omar had made several anti-Jewish remarks, she had not been “intentionally antisemitic.”

On Tuesday, the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) accused Omar of hating America “as much as Israel.”

Follow Joshua Klein on Twitter @JoshuaKlein.


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