U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren defended her Democratic colleague Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., amid a push to remove her from House Foreign Affairs Committee, citing her life experience as a refugee while accusing Republicans of smearing her over her past remarks that some in her own party have called antisemitic.
In a television interview, Omar was discussing the vote to remove her, calling it “politically-motivated” and in some cases “motivated by the fact that many of these members don’t believe a Muslim, a refugee, an African should even be in Congress.”
In a tweet, Warren defended Omar in response to a video of Omar’s interview in which she made her remark.
“@IlhanMN is the first African-born congressmember and the only House Foreign Affairs Committee member who’s lived in a refugee camp,” she wrote. “It’s shameful that Republicans are trying to remove her after smearing her for years. We need her voice, values, and expertise on the Committee.”
House Speaker Keven McCarthy, R-Calif., is seeking to convince holdouts within his own party to boot Omar from the committee that deals with foreign affairs over her repeated comments against Israel, America’s oldest ally in the Middle East, that she has since apologized for. Those comments include appearing to equate the United States and Israel with Hamas and the Taliban. Omar has also come under fire for appearing to minimize the 9-11 attacks.
Last week, McCarthy unilaterally removed Reps. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., and Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., from the House Intelligence Committee, a select committee, citing national security concerns.
In her television interview, Omar said she wasn’t accusing McCarthy of racism but cited comments by former President Donald Trump and GOP Reps. Marjory Taylor Greene of Georgia and Lauren Boebert of Colorado making remarks about Muslims in Congress, referring herself and Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich.
“These people are OK with Islamophobia,” Omar said. “They’re OK with trafficking in their own ways, in antisemitism. They are not OK with having a Muslim have a voice on that committee.”