Washington DC – Boos erupted from the crowd when Republican House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy mentioned the name of Muslim-American Congressman Ilhan Omar at the GOP Jewish Coalition meeting over the weekend.
“That’s a legitimate boo,” the lawmaker replied, promising to remove Omar from the House Foreign Relations Committee for her criticism of Israel.
The top Republican pledge has sparked protests from progressive and Muslim-American advocates who say the attack on Omar was unjust. Some have warned that this may be the tip of the iceberg in the campaign being prepared against.
“Republican and Democratic leaders in Congress should unite to reject this cynical political attack on Rep. Omar,” said Robert McCaw, director of government affairs at the Council on Islamic Relations in America (CAIR). said in a statement.
“We must not silence lawmakers who consistently speak out against human rights abuses, whether committed by our enemies, allies or even our own governments,” McCaw said Monday. rice field.
McCarthy is likely to become House Speaker in the new Congress that convenes on Jan. 3, 2023, after Republicans won a slim majority in this month’s midterm elections.
But even before stepping into the majority, the top Republican in the House said it would look into a business deal by President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden.
McCarthy also told Fox News on Sunday that he would block Democrats Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell from joining the Intelligence Committee.
But McCarthy’s attack on Omar, following years of constant Republican criticism of congressmen, was particularly notable.
“Last year, when I became Speaker of the House, I promised to remove Rep. Ilhan Omar from the House Foreign Relations Committee for his repeated anti-Semitic and anti-American remarks,” he wrote on Twitter on Saturday. “I keep that promise.”
CAIR’s McCaw described McCarthy’s pledge as “beyond hypocrisy,” noting that he would restore Congressman Marjorie Taylor Greene’s commission to the committee. Greene was kicked out of a congressional committee last year over her anti-Semitic and Islamophobic comments.
In a furious statement on Monday, Omar rebuked McCarthy, accusing Republicans of using “fear, xenophobia, Islamophobia and racism” to target her since her election in 2018. accused of doing so.
“McCarthy’s efforts to repeatedly identify me for contempt and hatred, including threatening to strip me from my committee, do nothing to address the issues our voters are dealing with. It does nothing to solve inflation, health care or the climate crisis,” she said.
Omar is one of three Muslims serving in parliament and one of the few vocal supporters of Palestinian rights in the Capitol.
As a member of the House Foreign Relations Committee, which pushes legislation and oversees members of the U.S. executive branch, she has also been a rare voice calling for diplomacy and opposing hawkish policies.
Omar has previously been accused of using anti-Semitic tropes after suggesting that political donations from pro-Israel lobby groups, including the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), would boost support for Israel in Washington. It has been.
She later apologized for the comment, but the Palestinian rights advocate said the anti-Semitic accusations against Omar and others over criticism of Israel are aimed at stifling debate about the Israeli government’s policies.
Progressive defends Omar
Several prominent progressives rushed to Omar’s defense this week after McCarthy’s remarks.
Congressman Cori Bush urged McCarthy to “do better” and voiced his support for Omar. doesn’t even exist,” she posted on Twitter.
Rep. Pramila Jayapal, chairman of the Congressional Progressive Party Committee, described Omar as a “dedicated” congressman who Republicans have used “xenophobia and racism to undermine her voice.” accused of being
Many also believe that Omar and Greene, or Paul Gosser, another far-right Republican, was formally accused last year of sharing an animated video depicting him murdering Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Rejected attempts to derive equivalence with
“Incumbent progressive black and brown women serve and lead from real experience, but they are white supremacists who persecute, marginalize, and incite violence against the rest of us. A very concerted effort has been made to convince you that you are a democrat just like the right wing of the United States.
When Rep. Gosar and Rep. Taylor Greene threatened or aggravated the lives of their colleagues, they were stripped of commission duties.now @Ilhan Are you threatening to remove the committee just because Mr. McCarthy says so, even though there is no such misconduct? This targeting is unacceptable. https://t.co/Mcl8BEqwVO
— Rep. Betty McCollum (@BettyMcCollum04) November 22, 2022
As a minority leader, McCarthy, who has rejected Democrat pressure on Green and Gosser, promised a payoff last year if Republicans regained control of the House.
“You will regret this,” he said after the Democrats removed Green from his commission.
Beyond the Omar issue, many critics are blaming the Republican Party’s stated priorities for the upcoming Congress, particularly the investigation of the Biden administration.
But Republicans say they fulfill one of their congressional duties by ensuring government oversight.
Republicans also say their Democratic rivals launched various investigations during the presidency of former President Donald Trump, including reports of collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign, which they dismiss as “hoaxes.” .
McCarthy said on Sunday that he would push for the removal of Schiff from the Intelligence Committee, now chaired by the Democrats, for lying to the American public without providing details.
Schiff fought back, calling McCarthy a “very weak leader” who responded to the caucus’s “lowest common denominator.” “He thinks Marjorie Taylor Green will do whatever she wants,” Schiff told ABC News.