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Rep. Ocasio-Cortez blasts Republicans for vote to oust Ilhan Omar from committee

The New York Democrat accused Republicans of "targeting women of color" in their efforts to remove fellow progressive Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota from the Foreign Affairs panel.
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Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez blasted House Republicans on Thursday for a passing resolution to remove Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, a fellow progressive lawmaker, from the Foreign Affairs Committee.

"This is about targeting women of color in the United States of America," Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., said.

Omar, a Muslim American who has been a critic of Israel and the Jewish lobby, was removed by Republicans on Thursday for what lawmakers from both parties said were antisemitic remarks.

“Consistency? There is nothing consistent with the Republican Party’s continued attacks, except for the racism and incitement of violence against women of color in this body,” Ocasio-Cortez said.

Before Ocasio-Cortez addressed the House floor, Rep. Nicole Malliotakis, a New York Republican, said that the resolution to remove Omar was about “consistency.” 

“I am being consistent here, and I hope my colleagues will do the same to show that this is about consistency and accountability,” Malliotakis said. “We should not have an individual with those views on the committee that is tasked with representing our country and our Congress to foreign nations.” 

Ocasio-Cortez fired back that Republicans have repeatedly elevated members of their caucus to prized committee assignments, including a GOP lawmaker who she said had threatened her life.

In 2021, Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., shared an animation on Twitter that depicted him killing the congresswoman, resulting in his being stripped of his committee assignments. Last month, Gosar was elevated to the Oversight and Accountability and Natural Resources committees, a move that Ocasio-Cortez said "rewarded him."

Ocasio-Cortez also challenged Republicans on inconsistencies related to Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., who came under scrutiny during her first term in Congress for antisemitic remarks.

In remarks that predated her election, Greene had claimed that the 2018 California wildfires were started by “Jewish space lasers," and she has also suggested that school shootings in Newtown, Connecticut, and Parkland, Florida, were staged. While she was removed from committees during her freshman term, Greene has since won "some of the highest committee assignments in this body," Ocasio-Cortez noted, assuming roles on the Oversight and Homeland Security committees.

Rep. Gregory Meeks, D-N.Y., also criticized what he called the “sheer hypocrisy” of the resolution to remove Omar, while insisting that her perspective as a refugee and the only African-born Muslim member of the Foreign Affairs panel were “invaluable.” 

The fact that Omar had apologized for the remarks, but was still facing removal, revealed a “double standard,” Meeks said, when compared against antisemitic remarks made by Republican members.

“Could it be the way that she looks, could it be her religious practices?" Meeks asked. "Because it’s clear if she were on the other side of the aisle, we would not be having this debate today.”

Two Jewish House Democrats also rallied in Omar's defense.

“I don’t need any of you to defend me against antisemitism,” said Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill.

Rep. Dean Phillips, D-Minn., who is also Jewish and a member of the Foreign Affairs panel, said that “atonement should be rewarded, not punished.”

“This is the very weaponization of antisemitism that I as a Jewish person find repulsive, I find dangerous, and above else, shameful — yes, shameful.” Phillips said.