White House calls House GOP removal of Omar from committee a ‘political stunt’

The White House on Thursday bashed House Republicans for voting to kick Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) off the Foreign Affairs Committee over her past comments about Israel, calling it a “political stunt.”

“What we believe is Congresswoman Omar is a highly respected member of Congress. She has apologized for her comments she made in the past … and has been vocal about condemning antisemitism, as well as affirming our strong alliance and important partnership with Israel,” press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters.

“The way that we see this, it’s a political stunt, much like House Republicans’ unjust removal of other leading Democrats from key committees in recent weeks, and it is a disservice to the American people,” Jean-Pierre said, referencing the removal of Reps. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) and Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) from the House Intelligence Committee.

The House approved a resolution on Thursday to remove Omar from the Foreign Affairs Committee in a party-line 218-211-1 vote. Rep. David Joyce (R-Ohio) voted present.

The resolution — sponsored by first-term Rep. Max Miller (R-Ohio), who is Jewish — lists a number of remarks Omar has made in the past that Republicans say were antisemitic. The resolution states that the congresswoman “disqualified herself” from serving on the Foreign Affairs panel, which “is viewed by nations around the world as speaking for Congress on matters of international importance and national importance and national security.”

The remarks by Omar listed in the resolution span from 2019 through 2021. Her most prominent comment that drew criticism came in February 2019, when the congresswoman on Twitter suggested that AIPAC, a pro-Israeli lobbying group, was paying American politicians to support Israel.

Omar — a Somali refugee and one of the first two Muslim women elected to Congress — delivered an impassioned defense of herself during debate on the House floor Thursday.

In an interview Sunday with CNN, Omar acknowledged that in the past she may have used words that she didn’t understand were antisemitic tropes.

“When that was brought to my attention, I apologized. I owned up to it. That’s the kind of person that I am,” Omar said. “And I continue to work with my colleagues and my community to fight against antisemitism.”

Democrats alleged Republicans sought to remove Swalwell, Schiff and Omar from their respective committees as retribution for the removal of GOP Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (Ga.) and Paul Gosar (Ariz.) from their committee assignments during the last Congress after they made comments promoting violence against liberals.

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