The House narrowly voted Thursday to remove Rep. Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.) from the Foreign Affairs Committee over her anti-Semitic comments.
Omar was ejected along party lines in a 218-211 vote. No Republican joined Democrats in opposing her removal from the committee, though Rep. David Joyce (R., Ohio) voted present.
The anti-Israel Democrat has a history of using anti-Semitic rhetoric and tropes that has earned her censure from within her own party. In 2012, Omar said that “Israel has hypnotized the world.” Criticizing the pro-Israel lobbying group American Israel Public Affairs Committee in 2019, she said, “It’s all about the Benjamins baby.” In 2021, she compared the United States and Israel to the terrorist organizations Hamas and the Taliban, saying they all have committed “crimes against humanity.”
Asked about her anti-Semitic rhetoric during a CNN interview on Sunday, Omar claimed she “wasn’t aware” there were “tropes about Jews and money.”
Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D., Mich.), a member along with Omar of the “Squad” of far-left House members, broke down in tears ahead of Thursday’s vote, telling Omar, “I am so sorry, sis, that our country is failing you today.”
The Republican Jewish Coalition celebrated the Democrat’s removal Thursday, saying “Omar will no longer be in a privileged position to influence legislation regarding US policy toward Israel and the Middle East.”
Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R., Calif.), who has led the charge to remove Omar and other controversial Democrats from committees, withstood an early test to his leadership from Republicans who opposed demoting Omar. It looked like McCarthy’s bid to remove the Democrat from the Foreign Affairs Committee might be in peril this week after several Republicans said they might vote to protect Omar’s place on the committee.
Reps. Victoria Spartz (R., Ind.), Nancy Mace (R., S.C.), and Ken Buck (R., Colo.) criticized Omar’s removal on procedural grounds, with Spartz saying McCarthy’s effort to strip her committee assignments denied Omar “proper due process.” Spartz on Tuesday reversed course, saying she would vote with McCarthy after receiving a commitment from the speaker to address procedural concerns regarding the removal of members from committees.
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R., Fla.) on Tuesday said he was “undecided” on removing Omar and praised Omar’s opposition to “neoconservative” foreign policy.
Spartz, Mace, Buck, and Gaetz all changed their minds by Thursday, voting to eject Omar.
McCarthy rebuffed accusations from Democrats that the vote represented retaliation against his political enemies. Democratic House minority leader Hakeem Jeffries (N.Y.) had pointed to controversial comments from House Republicans such as Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (Ga.) as evidence that McCarthy’s expulsion of Omar was hypocritical.
“Is [Greene] on Foreign Affairs? Is she on Intel?” McCarthy said Thursday. “OK, I make my case.”
Omar during the Sunday CNN interview attributed the Republican bid to eject her to “Islamophobia.”
“These people are OK with Islamophobia,” Omar said. “They’re OK with trafficking in their own ways in anti-Semitism. They are not OK with having a Muslim have a voice on that committee.”
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