U.S. House of Representatives Republicans ousted Democrat Ilhan Omar from a high-profile committee over remarks widely condemned as antisemitic.
On Thursday, February 2, U.S. House of Representatives Republicans ousted Democrat Ilhan Omar from a high-profile committee over remarks widely condemned as antisemitic, reports Reuters. The vote comes two years after Democrats removed two Republicans from committee assignments.
The House voted 218-211 along party lines to remove Omar from the Foreign Affairs Committee. One Republican voted „present.”
Omar is the only African-born member of Congress and one of the only Muslim women in the House. She was in line to be the top Democrat on the foreign affairs panel’s Africa subcommittee.
Republicans now have a House majority after years in the minority. They wanted Omar, a third-term House member, to step off from Foreign Affairs, citing her past statements that included a 2019 tweet which read, „It’s all about the Benjamins baby,” which suggests that Israel’s supporters in U.S. politics were motivated by money rather than principle. Omar and other Democrats said that any such remarks were made years ago and that Omar had deleted the posts and apologised at the time.
During the debate, Republican Mike Lawler said, „Words matter, rhetoric matters. It leads to harm. The congresswoman is being held accountable for her words and her actions.”
Before the vote, Jeffries told reporters that Democrats had condemned Omar’s „Benjamins” remark. „There has been accountability. Ilhan Omar has apologised. She has indicated she’ll learn from her mistakes” and was „building bridges” with the Jewish community. „This isn’t about accountability. It’s about political revenge.”
Shortly after the vote, House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries announced that he intends to appoint Omar to a seat on the Budget Committee „where she will defend Democratic values against right-wing extremism.”
Moments before the House expelled her from the committee, a defiant Omar said, „My leadership and voice will not be diminished if I am not on this committee … my voice will get louder and stronger.”
Democrats believe that the ousting of Omar was an act of revenge for removing Republicans Marjorie Taylor Greene and Paul Gosar from their committee assignments after incendiary remarks in 2021. Greene compared COVID-19 mask requirements and vaccinations to the Nazi Holocaust, for which she eventually apologised. Gosar posted a video on social media showing him appearing to kill another House member, Democratic Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.