WATCH: Trump & Pence Blast Rep. Omar’s [Non] Apology For Anti-Semitic Tweets; Call on Her To Resign

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Freshman Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar has apologized for tweets suggesting that members of Congress support Israel because they are being paid to do so. But President Donald Trump on Tuesday called her apology “lame” and said she should resign from Congress or at least not be allowed to serve on committees.

The Minnesota Democrat said she had no intention of offending anyone, including Jewish Americans, when she insinuated that lobbyists were paying lawmakers to support Israel. The remark drew bipartisan criticism and a rebuke from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

“We have to always be willing to step back and think through criticism, just as I expect people to hear me when others attack me about my identity,” Omar tweeted. “This is why I unequivocally apologize.”

Speaking to reporters during a Cabinet meeting, Trump raised the issue.

“Anti-Semitism has no place in the United States Congress,” Trump said. “I think she should either resign from Congress or she should certainly resign from the foreign affairs committee.”

Omar’s statement on Monday was the latest reckoning among Democrats of intense differences in their ranks over the U.S.-Israeli relationship, highlighted by criticism from Omar and Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan. They are the first Muslim women to serve in Congress. Pelosi and other Democrats, including leaders and chairmen, laid down a marker making clear that Omar had overstepped.

In a pair of tweets over the weekend, Omar criticized the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC. “It’s all about the Benjamins baby,” she wrote, invoking slang about $100 bills.

Asked on Twitter who she thought was paying members of Congress to support Israel, Omar responded, “AIPAC!”

That sparked Pelosi’s first public rebuke of a freshman lawmaker who had helped flip the House from Republican control and is part of a record number of women in Congress.

“Congresswoman Omar’s use of anti-Semitic tropes and prejudicial accusations about Israel’s supporters is deeply offensive,” Pelosi said in a statement issued by her office and signed by other Democratic leaders after a bipartisan backlash against the Minnesota Democrat. “We condemn these remarks, and we call upon Congresswoman Omar to immediately apologize for these hurtful comments.”

It also was a stark exposure of an increasingly tense split among Democrats over U.S.-Israeli policy ahead of the 2020 elections. None of the Democratic presidential hopefuls weighed in publicly as their party’s House leaders chastised Omar.

Omar’s fellow freshmen felt the strain. Some, such as Jewish Reps. Elaine Luria of Virginia and Max Rose of New York, explicitly denounced her remarks. Rep. Deb Haaland, D-N.M., said: “Anti-Semitism or xenophobia is never acceptable. I’m glad Rep. Omar has apologized.”

Senior Democrats dealt the new lawmaker a swift schooling.

“There is an expectation of leaders — particularly those with a demonstrated commitment to the cause of justice and equality — that they would be extremely careful not to tread into the waters of anti-Semitism or any other form of prejudice or hate,” House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler of New York said in a statement. “Rep. Omar failed that test of leadership with these comments.”

Republicans called on Democrats to strip Omar of her seat on the House Foreign Relations Committee, but Chairman Eliot Engel stopped just short of that. He said in a statement that he expects his committee members to discuss policies on merits. And though he did not name Omar, he left little doubt that his statement was a response to her tweets.

“It’s shocking to hear a Member of Congress invoke the anti-Semitic trope of ‘Jewish money,'” Engel said.

Asked on Air Force One en route to El Paso, Texas, about the controversy, President Donald Trump said the freshman congresswoman “should be ashamed of herself” for the tweets.

“I think it was a terrible statement, and I don’t think her apology was adequate,” he said. Asked what she should have said, Trump replied: “She knows what to say.”

AIPAC is a nonprofit organization that works to influence U.S. policy toward Israel. While it is barred from directly donating to candidates, it encourages its more than 100,000 members to do so and to be politically active.

One way the organization has made a mark on Congress is through expense-paid junkets to Israel, which are paid for by an affiliated nonprofit that does not have to disclose its donors. The popular weeklong excursions for members of Congress, their families and some senior staff can cost upward of $12,000 per person and are intended to “educate political leaders and influencers about the importance of the U.S. – Israel relationship through firsthand experiences.”

The nonprofit responded Sunday night: “We are proud that we are engaged in the democratic process to strengthen the US-Israel relationship. Our bipartisan efforts are reflective of American values and interests. We will not be deterred in any way by ill-informed and illegitimate attacks on this important work.”

Omar supports a movement known as BDS, for “boycott, divestment and sanctions” aimed at Israel. And it’s not the first time she’s fought accusations of anti-Semitism. She insists her rejection of the Israeli government refers to its stance toward Palestinians and is not directed at Jewish people.

Omar has expressed regret for tweeting in 2012: “Israel has hypnotized the world, may Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel.” She said the statement came in the context of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

“It’s now apparent to me that I spent lots of energy putting my 2012 tweet in context and little energy in disavowing the anti-Semitic trope I unknowingly used, which is unfortunate and offensive,” she tweeted last month.

The controversy over Omar’s remarks stretched beyond Capitol Hill to the crowded Democratic presidential race.

Less than a week earlier, all but one high-profile Democratic senator eyeing the White House in 2020 voted against a Middle East policy measure that included a provision cracking down on BDS activism against the Israeli government.

Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar supported the Middle East bill, while her potential presidential rivals — Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Kamala Harris of California, Cory Booker of New Jersey, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Sherrod Brown of Ohio — all opposed it. Several of those Democrats had raised concerns that the bill’s bid to rein in anti-Israel boycott efforts risked violating the constitutional rights of activists, although all the senators are opposed to the Palestinian-led push itself.

Among the yellow notes of support posted on Omar’s office nameplate on Capitol Hill on Monday was one that read, “Mazel Tov.”

(AP)




15 COMMENTS

  1. Trump is a hypocrite. He uses antisemitism as a convenient tool to rile up his minions of supporters but in truth he couldnt care less about anti-semitism when his own followers espouse hatred of Jews. He said nothing about the antisemitic attacks on Julia Ioffee by his supporters. He said nothing about Steve King and he could barely bring himself to distance himself from David Duke and the Neo Nazis in Charlottesville. Trump himself ran an ad accusing George Soros, Loyd Blakenfeld and other rich Jews of manupilating US policy which is not all that different than the tweets of Rep. Omar.

    Trump is playing on emotions. He is playing his supporters. He is a charlatan who knows how to whip up passion and play to emotion for his own benefit. It is clear that he couldnt care less about Jew hatred. Dont be fooled by Don the Con.

  2. President Trump is %100 correct.

    Btw, when Obama, in his quest to stir up racial tension, accused the police of “acting stupidly”, the media was fawning all over the Kenyan, proclaiming his absolute brilliance.

  3. once again crazykanoiy sides with antisemites and Jew-haters over the President who truly loves Jewish People and has done so much for us.

  4. Stop blaming Democrats for Anti-semitism.
    There are anti-semites in both parties.
    The rise of anti-semitism and the many anti-semitic attacks in the past few years has been under the Trump administration. But he is not to blame for it.
    Hashem allows anti-semitism against the Jewish people for His reasons.
    If we would all be better Jews and not blame it on any political leader or party , the attacks would stop.
    This post will probably be above the heads of those who are ignorant of facts and history and who just like to be fans of one person or party.

  5. Dear Trump supporters,

    Before responding with names and labeling stop and think for just one minute.

    If Trump truly cares about antisemitism why is he silent when asked about Steve King? Why does he choose not to condemn the vile antisemitism directed against Julia Ioffee? Why does he take days to distance himself from Duke? And why does he say that “very fine” people marched in Charlottesville? Why does he run an ad insinuating that rich Jewish gloabalists are secretly controlling US policy? How is it that he only finds his voice of great moral clarity when the antisemitism is espoused by a political opponent?

    The answer is fairly obvious Trump is not a true lover of Jews. He does not really care about antisemitism. He cares about winning politicaly. If antisemitism helps him politically he will tolerate it and if it helps him politically to attack Democrats as antisemites he will use that to attack his opponents.

    Please recognize that Trump is an expert manipulative charlatan. He is playing you and your emotions and you are falling for it.

    If you have another way to explaing the very jarring discrepancies in his reactions to antisemitism from his supporters and opponents by all means please explain below.

  6. Haha-“y do you think trump doesn’t care his grandchildren are Jewish”

    Wasn’t pharaoh’s daughter basya a Jewish convert? How did they work out did that change his heart?

    Even Esther hamalka was married to the king and still feared since it was such a close call and had to plan everything right to save the Yidden.

    There are anti semites who marry Jewish but still hate Jews. The just like their spouse. Doesn’t mean they like their people.

    Not saying that Trump is like that but t take this into consideration. And crazykanoi raises good points.

  7. Stop being so defensive of trump. Its very true that he didn’t call out those vile anti-Semitic groups and leaders and kept giving excuses.

    Supporting someone doesn’t mean you can’t be critical of them. Even big radio hosts who support and personally know Trump are sometimes critical of him.

    There were many weird things by the campaign. The Trump poster which featured S.S. soldiers rather than American soldiers, oops they said it was a mistake. And the anti Hillary ad with a background of dollar bills with a big Jewish star on top of them saying she gets corrupted by money, or when Trump spoke to the Jewish Republicans and told them “I know you won’t vote for me cause you like to control your politicians with money and I don’t need yours”. Is that an anti semitic stereotype or what? Writing in the Yad vashem memory book “had an amazing time with my friends”! No mention of jews killed in holocaust on Holocaust memorial day just saying people. Not participating in pesach Seder which was actually created by Obama. You can find complete lists of these things even if they are from leftist Democrat sites. Facts are facts. And no I’m not at all a Never Trumper . Just keep your eyes open and mind and heart focused on the Bashefer who runs things and trust in Him not in someone who says what they want for that moment.

  8. Looks like leftist Democrat trolls got organized on this site for coordinated response to defend radical racist antisemitic Democrat party. You guys are in the good company with David Duke and Ilhan Omar:

    @DrDavidDuke
    So, let us get this straight. It is “Anti-Semitism” to point out that the most powerful political moneybags in American politics are Zionists who put another nation’s interest (israel’s) over that of America ??????
    David Duke

  9. crazykanoiy,

    While I do agree Trump is playing politics. However, there is a YUGE difference when an elected official says something…

    She does not belong on any committee. period!