House Speaker Nancy Pelosi came to the defense of Rep. Ilhan Omar over her recent controversial remarks, revealing that Democrats are working to broaden the language of the resolution that was to condemn anti-Semitism.
Pelosi addressed reporters at the Capitol Thursday amid the ongoing controversy over Omar’s comments and the Democrats’ failure to vote on a resolution introduced earlier this week to condemn anti-Semitism.
“I don’t think that the congresswoman perhaps appreciates the full weight of how it was heard by other people, although I don’t believe it was intended in an anti-Semitic way,” Pelosi said. “But the fact is, if that’s how it was interpreted, we have to remove all doubt.”
Democratic leaders initially drafted the resolution in response to the outcry over Omar’s controversial remarks as the Minnesota Democrat has come under fire for her comments and recent tweets about the “dual loyalty” of congressional members on Israel, with her remarks on the Israel-Palestine conflict and on Israel itself drawing backlash from many, including top-ranking Democrats and her colleagues on the Foreign Affairs Committee.
The freshman congresswoman lashed out against some of the criticism, tweeting that she “should not be expected” to have “allegiance” to another country.
The text of the resolution referred to the “dual loyalty” trope mentioned by Omar but made no mention of the Muslim lawmaker by name. Pelosi reportedly stormed out of a closed-door meeting on Wednesday as Democrats fought over wording of the resolution and whether they defended Omar or not.
“I thought the resolution should enlarge the issue to anti-Semitism, anti-Islamophobia, anti-white supremacy, and that it should not mention her name,” Pelosi said Thursday. “And that’s what we’re working on — something that is one resolution addressing these forms of hatred, not mentioning her name, because it’s not about her. It’s about these forms of hatred.”
Pelosi seemed to offer up more of the excuses her party has been delivering in defense of Omar and her inexcusable smears.
“She may need to explain that she did not — it’s up to her to explain, but I do not believe that she understood the full weight of the words [she used],” Pelosi said.
“I understand how advocates come in with their enthusiasms, but when you cross that threshold into Congress your words weigh much more than when you’re shouting at somebody outside,” she added. “And I feel confident that her words were not based on any anti-Semitic attitude, but that she didn’t have a full appreciation of how they landed on other people, where these words have a history and a cultural impact that may have been unknown.”
Rep. Ted Deutch slammed the plan to exclude naming Omar in the resolution, as well as the intention to broaden the language.
“Why are we unable to singularly condemn anti-Semitism? Why can’t we call it anti-Semitism and show we’ve learned the lessons of history?” the Florida Democrat, who is Jewish, said Thursday ahead of Pelosi’s press conference, according to The Hill.
“This shouldn’t be so hard,” he said, adding that “words matter” and “anti-Semitism is worthy of being taken seriously on its own.”
As Pelosi struggles to rein in her party which is straining against ideological differences between moderates and progressives, her latest comments did nothing to win over critics who believe she is no longer in control.
All due respect, @SpeakerPelosi. But if @Ilhan “doesn’t understand the weight of her words” – over and over again – when it comes to an issue as important, sensitive and divisive as anti-Semitism, maybe consider a different committee appointment than foreign affairs?
— S.E. Cupp (@secupp) March 7, 2019
Pelosi has been subjugated by the once-fringe socialists within her party. Her party is now officially excusing and defending repeated anti-Semitic remarks from one of their one committee members. https://t.co/686i1czxqw
— Dana Loesch (@DLoesch) March 7, 2019
Imagine the weight of her brain…
— Rev. Ray Barnett Ph.D (@pr_barnett) March 7, 2019
If any Republican made the exact same comment, Pelosi would ask for 2 things, that person to resign and their head on a spear. Omar is a grown adult. She is a Muslim. She understand the full weight of what she said.
— Adam Spitzer (@irish13dragon) March 7, 2019
There should be nothing partisan about ending anti Semitism.
— RV (@rvanlierop) March 7, 2019
If the House Democrats had the votes to pass a resolution condemning Rep Omar and her (repeated) obviously anti-Semitic comments it would be on the floor. That Pelosi doesn’t have the votes for that is revealing about what’s really going on in her conference and who is in charge.
— Rob Simms (@Robasimms) March 7, 2019
In a nutshell, She said Omar did not understand what she was saying. Really? So now a 38 year old is not clear enough to be accountable for their words, but someone from Massachusetts wants 16 year olds to have a vote? Congress is a circus.
— Alisa Murphy (@AlisaMurphy) March 7, 2019
Pelosi has been exposed as the weakest Speaker in modern history.
— Chris Barron (@ChrisRBarron) March 7, 2019
Nancy Pelosi wants us to believe that a 37-year old member of Congress with nearly a decade of antisemitic comments is just too dumb to understand what she is saying. This is utterly disgraceful.
— Drew Krab (@drew_krab) March 7, 2019
@SpeakerPelosi Nancy, if you keep protecting her, you will lose my Jewish vote and my Jewish support.
— Arabelle King (@king_arabelle) March 7, 2019
Nancy Pelosi caved!!
There’s no ifs, ands, or buts about it. Pelosi blinked. This was the extremists testing the waters to see how far left they can push the party.
— ?????? (@50_hi1) March 7, 2019
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