Rep. Ilhan Omar Blames ‘Xenophobia, Racism’ For McCarthy’s Threat To Remove Her From Committee

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Michael Ginsberg Congressional Correspondent
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Democratic Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar said Monday that Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy’s promise to remove her from the House Foreign Affairs Committee smacks of “xenophobia” and “racism.”

“From the moment I was elected, the Republican Party has made it their mission to use fear, xenophobia, Islamophobia and racism to target me on the House Floor and through millions of dollars of campaign ads,” she said in a statement. “McCarthy’s effort to repeatedly single me out for scorn and hatred—including threatening to strip me from my committee—does nothing to address the issues our constituents deal with. It does nothing to address inflation, healthcare, or solve the climate crisis.”

McCarthy reiterated his promise to remove Omar from the committee during a Sunday Fox News appearance. He first floated the idea in June 2021, after Omar conflated the U.S. and Israel with Hamas and the Taliban. McCarthy has also promised to remove Democratic California Reps. Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell from the House Intelligence Committee. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: Kevin McCarthy Plots An Investigation Avalanche If GOP Retakes House)

Throughout her tenure in Congress, Omar has made remarks and social media comments that many view as anti-Semitic. Just one month into her first term, Omar tweeted that American support for Israel is “all about the Benjamins.” She also suggested in May 2019 that American Jews “push for allegiance to a foreign country.”

When called out for her use of anti-Semitic tropes, Omar and her allies frequently accuse critics of being Islamophobic and racist. She repeated the pattern in her statement.

Removing the congresswoman from her committees “gin[s] up fear and hate against Somali-Americans and anyone who shares my identity, and further divides us along racial and ethnic lines. It is a continuation of a sustained campaign against Muslim and African voices, people his party have been trying to ban since Donald Trump first ran for office,” she said.

Although party leadership typically decides committee assignments, the full House of Representatives may vote to remove members from their committees. The House voted to remove Republican Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Paul Gosar of Arizona from their committees during the 117th Congress. McCarthy has said that he might give them “better committee assignments” than what they had previously.