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On Tuesday, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy urged Speaker Nancy Pelosi to remove controversial congresswoman Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) from the House Foreign Affairs Committee and said that if she won’t, the GOP will if they take back the House in 2022.
“I will promise you this, if we are fortunate enough to have the majority, Omar would not be serving on Foreign Affairs — or anybody that has an antisemitic, anti-American view,” McCarthy told Fox & Friends. “That is not productive, and that is not right.”
Despite the fact that last week senior Democratic leaders appeared to rebuke Rep. Ilhan Omar for equating so-called “crimes against humanity” by the United States and Israel to “unthinkable atrocities” by the Taliban and Hamas, Nancy Pelosi ultimately backtracked on that rebuke. “We did not rebuke her. We thanked — acknowledged that she made a clarification,” Pelosi told CNN’s Dana Bash.
So, yeah, don’t hold your breath… As long as Democrats are in power, anti-Semites like Ilhan Omar aren’t going anywhere.
Stripping House members of their committee assignments is hardly unprecedented. Earlier this year, Democrats stripped Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) of her committee assignments for her past embrace of QAnon conspiracy theories. McCarthy warned Democrats then that they’d set a new standard for stripping members of their assignments and said at the time, “I would remind them what Leader McConnell said when Democrats voted to nuke the judicial filibuster: ‘You’ll regret this. And you may regret this a lot sooner than you think.’”
It seems obvious that Pelosi has no plans to remove Omar from the committee. Pelosi refused to remove Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) from his position on the House Intelligence Committee after it was revealed he’d been the target of a Chinese intelligence spy with whom he’d had a relationship. Earlier this year (see link above) I identified a number of Democrats who ought to have their committee assignments stripped, but won’t because Democrats don’t exactly have a strong record of holding their caucus accountable for anything.
Republicans, however, have done more to hold their own party accountable for offending remarks. In 2019, former Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) was stripped of his committee assignments by House Republicans after telling the New York Times, “White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?”
Ilhan Omar’s blatant anti-Semitism, however, goes unchecked and essentially unrebuked from her party.