On February 2, the Republican-dominated House of Representatives, led by Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy, ousted Representative Ilhan Omar of Minnesota from the Foreign Affairs Committee. McCarthy pointed to “repeated antisemitic and anti-American remarks” as the reasons for her removal, yet many Democrats label this decision as blatant racism and an attempt at revenge for the ousting of Republican representatives in the past.
The Republicans cite a tweet of Omar from 2019 declaring “It’s all about the Benjamins, baby,” implying her belief that pro-Israel groups paid Republicans to support their cause. At the time, she came under immense backlash from Republicans and Democrats alike for perpetuating a harmful trope that Jewish people influence politics with bribery. In 2021, Omar once again tweeted a controversial statement, saying that “we have seen unthinkable atrocities committed by the US, Hamas, Israel, Afghanistan, and the Taliban.” Her peers reeled at the equivocation of the US and Israel to the Hamas and Taliban. She quickly said that her intention was not to equivocate the actions of these groups, but rather to state that the rights of all should be upheld. These two comments were the basis of Republican arguments against Omar last month.
“This is not about consistency,” passionately declared Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in defense of Omar, “this is about targeting women of color in the United States of America.” She went on to cite Paul Gosar’s threatening of her life in 2021 and the lack of retribution he faced. Highlighting the opposing party’s continued hypocrisy, Ocasio-Cortez claimed, “There is nothing consistent with the Republican Party’s continued attack except for the racism and incitement of violence against women of color in this body.”