A group of House Republicans
introduced legislation on Monday to censure Rep. Ilhan Omar
(D-Minn.) and her closest congressional allies, in an attempt to bolster GOP
claims that the Democratic Party
is dangerously radical and exploit infighting among its members. Democrats' own decisions will make the gambit more difficult to defeat.
The resolution, introduced by Reps. Mike Waltz (R-Fla.), Claudia Tenney (R-N.Y.), and Jim Banks (R-Ind. ), would condemn Omar and Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
(D-N.Y.), Rashida Tlaib
(D-Mich.), and Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.). It cites criticisms of Israel
, including its recent airstrikes
, which killed
If the resolution is passed, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi
(D-Calif.) will be forced to publicly chastise them during the bill's reading, despite her previous comments on Omar's views.
Rep. Kevin McCarthy
(R-Calif.) may launch his own parallel effort to remove Omar from committees, according to Punchbowl News
The GOP attacks are ostensibly inspired by comments Omar made last week about the US refusal to cooperate with the International Criminal Court, in which she stated that there should be accountability for all allegations of crimes against humanity committed by widely condemned groups like Hamas
militants, as well as by the US and its partners like Israel and Afghanistan
Republicans' new offensive against the congresswoman, however, is about something entirely different: her colleagues.
Since facing anti-Semitism allegations years ago, Omar has stated her support for Israel's "freedom and security
," referring to the country as the Jewish people
's "historical homeland."
, led by former President Donald Trump
, and right-wing media
outlets have continued to portray Omar as hateful, misrepresenting her calls for applying equal rights standards to all parties as attempts to single out Israel and Jews. Many of these attacks treat Omar as an alien: a Black Muslim
woman expressing un-American sentiments.
Prominent Democrats have repeatedly endorsed that narrative
, lending credence to it and assisting Republicans in smearing both Omar and the Democratic Party as a whole, ignoring dozens of comments from Omar and her supporters explaining her views and condemning prejudice.
Last week, after right-wing lawmakers and pundits claimed that Omar's comments about International Criminal Court investigations were actually statements saying the US and Israel were the equivalent of terror organizations, 12 House Democrats
issued a statement saying Omar could "give cover to terrorist groups," and they asked her for clarification.
McCarthy stepped up his criticisms a few hours later, challenging Pelosi to take action against Omar.
The congresswoman from Minnesota
provided the clarification requested by her colleagues.
“To be clear: the conversation was about accountability for specific incidents related to those ICC cases, not a moral comparison between Hamas and the Taliban and the United States
and Israel,” Omar said in a statement on Thursday, adding that “I was in no way equating terrorist organizations with democratic countries with well-established judicial systems.”
Democrats, however, continued to feed the cycle of manufactured outrage: not long after Omar's press release, Pelosi and her five top deputies issued a statement echoing the congresswoman's criticisms.
It is now up to Pelosi's team to handle the Republicans' attempt to make Omar the biggest political story of the week while avoiding a national conversation about apparent Democratic anti-Semitism rather than Democratic priorities like voting
access and infrastructure
Democrats are signaling that they will not fall for the GOP's bait this time.
Rep. Brad Schneider (D-Ill.), who led the Democratic response to Omar's comments last week, told Stardia that he will introduce his own resolution on Wednesday to censure a Republican, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene
(Ga.), for comparing coronavirus
control efforts to Nazi
“Congresswoman Omar is a valued member of our caucus,” Pelosi said on CNN
on Sunday, adding, “she clarified, we thanked her, end of subject.”