Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) was booted off the House Foreign Affairs Committee, in a move that Democrats see as payback but Republicans say was over past controversial comments.
The House voted along party lines 218-211 to remove Omar from the committee.
Omar said that the move to oust her was an attack on Muslim Americans, citing the birther movement against Barack Obama, fueled in part by Donald Trump.
“I am a Muslim. I am an immigrant. And interestingly from Africa,” she said.
Omar’s district covers parts of the city of Minneapolis and surrounding suburbs.
She added, “I am an American. An American who was sent here by her constituents to represent them in Congress.”
Omar sparked a furor and criticism from fellow Democrats in 2019 when she tweeted, in reference to Jewish organizations advocating for support of Israel, “It’s all about the Benjamins, baby.” The Democratic leadership condemned the remarks, and she later apologized.
Republicans, though, said that Omar has a history of anti-semitic comments, as she has criticized the government of Israel.
House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries told reporters that Omar “certainly has made mistakes. She has used anti-semitic tropes that were clearly and unequivocally condemned by House Democrats. But it took place four years ago.” He called the effort to remove her “political revenge.” When Democrats had a House majority, they later voted to remove Republicans Marjorie Taylor Greene and Paul Gosar from their committees. Republicans returned them to committee assignments when they got the majority.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), though, denied that the move was “tit for tat” and said that “we are not removing her from other committees. We just do not believe when it comes to foreign affairs, especially the responsibility of that position, around the world with the comments that you make, she shouldn’t serve there.”
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