Republican New York Rep. Nicole Malliotakis sparred with CNN anchor Poppy Harlow on Friday over removing Democratic Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar from the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
The House of Representatives voted to remove Omar from the committee Thursday at the behest of House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, who also removed Democratic California Reps. Eric Swalwell and Adam Schiff from the House Intelligence Committee. Omar faced scrutiny in 2019 for suggesting that American Jews advocate for “allegiance to a foreign country” and that Israel purchased American support.
Malliotakis, who also served on the Foreign Affair committee, said Omar held “very dangerous views” surrounding Israel, for blaming the U.S. for the catastrophe in Venezuela and for allegedly having “diminished” 9/11 and thus should not serve on that committee.
“Congresswoman, to the first point you made in your objections of her, she did respond saying that ‘I was in no way equating terrorist organizations with democratic countries with well established judicial systems,” Harlow said. “To the point about anti-Semitism, she tweeted apologizing in 2019 for some of the statements saying ‘anti-Semitism is real, I unequivocally apologize.’ At that point, she also voted for a House resolution condemning anti-Semitism and just yesterday, before this point, she co-sponsored a resolution condemning anti-Semitism and calling Israel an ally of the United States. Would any apology be enough to believe she should serve on this committee?”
“The problem is, how many times are we gonna go through this? She says these things and then maybe later she goes and apologizes when there’s such outrage, including from her own party. Remember, she immediately apologized even after Nancy Pelosi condemned what she had said. So the problem with her is that it just doesn’t end. She apologizes and she continues to spew this kind of rhetoric,” Malliotakis replied. (RELATED: Ocasio-Cortez Has Fiery Fit On House Floor Over Ilhan Omar’s Committee Removal)
Harlow then argued that Malliotakis voted against removing Republican Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar from the House Oversight Committee after he tweeted an edited anime video depicting him killing Democratic New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and attacking President Joe Biden in November 2021. Gosar did not apologize, but quietly removed the video.
“So are you then, for consistency’s sake, comfortable with Congressman Gosar sitting on the House Oversight Committee?” Harlow asked.
“Look, I actually condemned the video,” she said. “But the reason I didn’t take that vote was because we were seeing how it’s all one sided, right? At that time, after voting for the Marjorie Taylor Greene vote, I had said we now need to remove Eric Swalwell from the Intelligence Committee, we need to remove Ilhan Omar from the Foreign Affairs Committee.”
“Eric Swalwell, this is someone who had a relationship with a Chinese spy, sits on the Intelligence Committee, could not get a clearance in the private sector and he’s on a committee where they’re given secrets that I don’t know because I don’t have privy to that information, the most important secrets pertaining to our nation’s security and safety, he should’ve been removed then,” she continued.
Chinese spy Christine Fang “Fang Fang” worked on Swalwell’s 2014 re-election campaign and later interned in his congressional office. Shortly after being appointed to the Intelligence committee, the FBI briefed him in 2015 on Fang’s position with the Chinese government, causing him to immediately cut all ties with her. Then-House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi assured he would remain on the committee.
Harlow cited a Washington Post fact check stating that Swalwell cooperated fully with the FBI, then repeated her question if Gosar should sit on the Oversight committee. Malliotakis said the Democrats do not face the same consequences as Republicans in these sorts of situations.
Harlow then pointed out that Omar was the only Muslim and refugee serving on the committee and questioned if a “diverse set of views” is important on the committee. Malliotakis, a daughter of a refugee, said a diverse set of views is valuable but “anti-American rhetoric” is not acceptable.