Pelosi’s bad week gets worse when she defends Omar: I don’t believe she understood full weight of her words

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.


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Frieda Powers


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