The House voted Thursday along party lines to remove Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) from her seat on the Foreign Affairs Committee through a resolution that cites her past derogatory remarks about Jewish people and anti-Israel posture.
The vote passed 218 to 211, with all Democrats voting against the resolution and one Republican, Rep. David Joyce (R-OH), voting “present.”
The vote is a win for House Republicans, who hold a slim majority in the chamber, after a few from their conference initially objected to the resolution. The three who had vocally opposed it, Reps. Victoria Spartz (R-IN), Nancy Mace (R-SC), and Ken Buck (R-CO), had flipped their vote by Thursday morning.
Majority Whip Tom Emmer (R-MN), a key player in the successful whip operation, told Breitbart News in an exclusive statement that Omar, a fellow Minnesotan, had “no place representing American interests” on the Foreign Affairs Committee.
“There is no debate that Ilhan Omar, the face of antisemitism in the Democrat Party, has no place representing American interests on the Foreign Affairs Committee. Ms. Omar is an embarrassment to Minnesota and our country,” Emmer said.
Ilhan Omar was promoted despite a history of antisemitic rhetoric days after Democrats booted Marjorie Taylor Greene from her committees. https://t.co/zbvaIZmbaG
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) February 15, 2021
The vote is also a victory for Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), who first indicated he would strip Omar of the committee seat in an interview with Breitbart News more than a year ago.
“Ilhan Omar should not be serving on Foreign Affairs,” McCarthy said at the time. “This is a new level of what the Democrats have done.”
The House voted mostly on partisan lines to strip Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) and Paul Gosar (R-AZ) of their committee assignments in 2021 because of their inflammatory rhetoric and social media posts. That same year, then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) also rejected two of McCarthy’s choices for the January 6 select committee.
One of the Republicans who had initially opposed booting Omar from the committee, Spartz, credited McCarthy with adding “due process language” to the resolution on Omar to convince her to flip her vote, though Rules Committee ranking member Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA) said, per the Hill, that the “notion this resolution has any due process is simply bullshit.”
Today, Rep. Spartz issued the statement below on the resolution to remove Rep. Omar from the Foreign Affairs Committee. pic.twitter.com/tiMNVUySqI
— Rep. Victoria Spartz (@RepSpartz) January 31, 2023
Republicans’ opposition to Omar serving on the committee comes after the two-term Minnesota Democrat gained a reputation for promoting antisemitic tropes, such as claiming Israel had “hypnotized the world” and that support for Israel was “all about the Benjamins.”
Omar later apologized for the remarks but continued to take anti-Israel positions.
In 2019, Omar introduced a resolution that supported the anti-Israel “boycott, divestment, sanctions” (BDS) movement. In 2021, she lumped “atrocities” supposedly committed by the U.S. and Israel in with those committed by the Taliban and Hamas. Equating the U.S. and its Middle East ally to the two terrorist groups led to condemnation from her own party’s leadership and again resulted in Omar apologizing. Later in 2021, Omar was one of just nine members of the House to vote against a $1 billion investment in Israel’s defense system.
Omar also made headlines in 2019 for remarks she made at a conference hosted by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). Omar, who is Muslim, said the group “was founded after 9/11 because they recognized that some people did something and that all of us were starting to lose access to our civil liberties.”
The phrase “some people did something” outraged some, who criticized her for downplaying the deadly terrorist attacks, which killed nearly 3,000 Americans. Omar however defended the remarks, likening them to remarks made by former President George W. Bush at the time of the attacks and suggesting he would have been criticized more if he were Muslim.
Rep. Claudia Tenney, a Republican congresswoman from New York, evoked Omar’s comments in a statement online ahead of the vote on Thursday, saying, “Today, some people will do something to Ilhan Omar’s committee assignment.”
Today, some people will do something to Ilhan Omar’s committee assignment.
— Claudia Tenney (@claudiatenney) February 2, 2023
CAIR, for its part, had been advocating for Omar to keep her seat, calling her the target of “bad-faith” allegations.
The group said in a statement this week, “American Muslims are prepared to fight for our Muslim representatives in Congress when they are unfairly targeted with politically-motivated attacks, Islamophobic rhetoric, and in-bad-faith allegations.”
Omar, a Somali American who lived in a refugee camp as a child, spoke on the House floor ahead of the vote next to a photo of herself when she was nine years old. Omar vowed “to continue to speak up, because representation matters” in spite of her anticipated ouster from the committee.
“Is anyone surprised that I am being targeted?” Omar asked. “Frankly it is expected because when you push power, power pushes back.”
Write to Ashley Oliver at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter at @asholiver.
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