On Thursday, Republicans in the House of Representatives of the United States of America removed Democratic Representative Ilhan Omar from a prominent committee due to comments that were widely condemned as antisemitic. This comes two years after Democrats removed two Republican representatives from their committee assignments.
TW: death threat, profanity.
This is is one example of a death threat that came into my office this week.
These threats increase whenever Republicans put a target on my back.
They can continue to target me, but they will never stop me from fighting for a more just world. pic.twitter.com/jnctEVSRz0
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) February 2, 2023
Omar was removed from her position on the Foreign Affairs Committee by a vote of 218 to 211, with Republicans highlighting remarks she made in 2019 for which she later issued an apology. The House is strongly divided along party lines. There was a “present” vote cast by one Republican.
Omar is one of the only Muslim women in the House of Representatives and the only member of Congress who was born on the African continent. She came to the United States from Somalia as a refugee. She was in line to be the leading Democrat on the Africa subcommittee of the panel that oversees international affairs.
Soon after the vote, House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries made a countermove by stating that he intended to assign Omar to a position on the Budget Committee “where she will defend Democratic ideals against right-wing extremism.” Jeffries made this announcement shortly after the vote took place.
Republicans, who won a narrow majority in the House in November’s election after years in the minority, said they wanted Omar, a third-term House member, off Foreign Affairs for statements including a 2019 tweet that read, “It’s all about the Benjamins, baby.” This tweet implied that supporters of Israel in U.S. politics were motivated by money rather than principle. Republicans said they wanted Omar off Foreign Affairs because of these statements.
On the one hundred dollar bill is a portrait of Benjamin Franklin, who is considered to be one of the founding fathers of the United States because of his signature on the Declaration of Independence in 1776 and the United States Constitution in 1787.
During the argument, Republican Mike Lawler observed, “Words have meaning, and so does rhetoric. It is harmful in the long run. The congresswoman is being held responsible for both the words that she has spoken and the acts that she has taken.”
Omar and other Democrats have stated that any comments about this like were made many years ago and that Omar has now removed the posts in question and issued an apology for her actions.
Omar, who was indignant as she spoke, said this just moments before the House booted her from the committee: “My leadership and voice will not be diminished if I am not on this committee… my voice will get louder and stronger.”
Omar has stated in the past that all armed forces, including those of the United States and those of other nations, should be held to the same levels of accountability whenever their actions result in the injury or death of civilians.
It was seen by Democrats as a kind of payback for their vote in 2021 to remove Republicans Marjorie Taylor Greene and Paul Gosar from their committee assignments after they made incendiary remarks. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy was the one who orchestrated the removal of the member from office.
In the year 2021, Greene made the comparison between the mandatory use of COVID-19 masks and vaccinations and the Holocaust, which claimed the lives of six million Jews. In the end, she expressed her regret. Before she was elected to Congress in 2020, she spread false conspiracy theories, one of which was an antisemitic accusation stating that a space laser may have been used to purposefully spark a wildfire in California.
Gosar had published a video on social media in which he appeared to be responsible for the death of another member of the House, a Democrat named Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Initially, Ilhan Omar and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez made up one-half of a group of progressive House Democrats elected in 2018 who came to be known as “The Squad.” Other members of “The Squad” were Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Tlaib. Since then, the movement has gained momentum.
McCarthy has given committee assignments to both Greene and Gosar, in addition to George Santos, a newly elected representative who has admitted to fabricating much of his resume; however, Santos has temporarily stepped away from those assignments while he works to clear up questions about his ethics. McCarthy has also given committee assignments to Greene and Gosar.
Jeffries told reporters that Democrats had criticized Omar’s “Benjamins” statement before the vote ever took place.
“There has been accountability. Ilhan Omar has apologized. She has indicated she’ll learn from her mistakes” and was “building bridges” with the Jewish community. ” This isn’t about accountability. It’s about political revenge.”
Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell, both Democrats, have previously been turned down for positions on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence due to McCarthy’s opposition. Both played significant roles in the proceedings that led to former Republican President Donald Trump’s impeachment.
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