Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., is facing a growing rebuke from members of her own party for allegedly anti-Semitic remarks that colleagues are calling “deeply hurtful and offensive” to Jewish Americans.
In perhaps the most striking response, the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee on which Omar sits put out a stern statement condemning her remarks on Monday.
“Anti-Semitism in any form is unacceptable, and it’s shocking to hear a Member of Congress invoke the anti-Semitic trope of ‘Jewish money,’” Engel, D-N.Y., said.
This followed Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., a prominent Jewish lawmaker and chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, saying: “It is deeply disappointing and disturbing to hear Representative Ilhan Omar’s choice of words in her exchange with a journalist yesterday, wherein she appears to traffic in old anti-Semitic tropes about Jews and money. Her words are deeply hurtful and offensive, particularly as they build on a previous comment she made about Jews ‘hypnotizing’ the world in support of Israel.”
Omar, who became the first Somali-American woman elected to Congress in November, touched off the controversy when she responded to a tweet by journalist Glenn Greenwald criticizing House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., for urging action against Omar and Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., for allegedly anti-Semitic remarks.
Greenwald accused McCarthy of targeting Omar and Tlaib for their public criticisms of Israel, to which Omar responded, “It’s all about the Benjamins, baby,” quoting a 1997 song by Puff Daddy. She then doubled down when challenged by Batya Ungar-Sargon, the opinion editor of The Forward newspaper.
“Would love to know who @IlhanMN thinks is paying American politicians to be pro-Israel, though I think I can guess,” Ungar-Sargon tweeted. “Bad form, Congresswoman. That’s the second anti-Semitic trope you’ve tweeted.”
In response, Omar tweeted “AIPAC!” referring to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, which has been accused of agitating for a conflict with Iran.
Omar’s tweets have since been widely condemned by fellow Democrats — including former first daughter Chelsea Clinton, who said she planned to reach out to the freshman lawmaker, and some Jewish members of Congress.
“For nearly two weeks, Rep. [Omar] has avoided meeting with me to discuss why anti-Semitic tropes like these are hurtful to so many Americans,” Rep. Josh Gottheimer, D-N.J., tweeted. “There is absolutely no place for this rhetoric in Congress — or anywhere.”
Rep. Max Rose, D-N.Y., also called the comments “deeply hurtful.”
The Anti-Defamation League, meanwhile, called on House leadership to take action in response to Omar’s comments.
“Unfortunately, making insensitive statements toward the Jewish community is not new for Rep. Omar. These tweets are part of a disturbing pattern of behavior that must end,” ADL CEO Jonathan A. Greenblatt said in a statement. “… Strong bipartisan support for Israel is not a result of money or lobbying. Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East and a strong American ally in a strategically important region.”
From the Republican side of the aisle, RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel on Monday called for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to remove Omar from the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
Omar has not backed down. She told Chelsea Clinton over Twitter that she would be happy to talk to her and that “[w]e must call out smears from the GOP and their allies.”
“I believe we can do that without criticizing people for their faith,” Omar added. “I look forward to building an inclusive movement for justice with you.”
The Minnesota lawmaker has also taken to retweeting a number of posts voicing support for her and suggesting the allegations of anti-Semitism go too far.
“Equating [Omar and Tlaib’s] criticism of Israel to Steve King’s long defense of white supremacy is obscene (McCarthy said it’s worse),” Greenwald tweeted. “In the US, we’re allowed to criticize our own government: certainly foreign governments. The GOP House Leader’s priorities are warped.”
Greenwald’s tweets came after McCarthy called Friday for taking action against Omar and Tlaib for their comments.
On Monday, McCarthy alleged that Democratic leaders have abdicated their responsibility and vowed that Republicans would press ahead.
“House Democrat leadership continues to be silent as Americans from both sides of the aisle condemn this rhetoric and pattern of behavior. In the face of that abdication of leadership, Republicans will take action this week to ensure the House speaks out against this hatred and stands with Israel and the Jewish people,” he said in a statement.
Fox News’ Samuel Chamberlain contributed to this report.
Hillary Clinton slams Trump’s national emergency declaration in tweet
Hillary Clinton took to Twitter on Monday to slam President Trump for declaring a national emergency along the United States southern border.
In her tweet, the former secretary of state said the “real national emergencies” were “Relentless gun violence. Children separated from their families at the border. Climate change” and “Americans dying for lack of health care.”
Clinton, who lost to Trump in the 2016 presidential race, has been one of his harshest critics since his election. On Instagram on Monday, she appeared to troll Trump by posting a photo of the three living former Democratic presidents – Jimmy Carter, Barack Obama and, her husband, Bill Clinton – as well former First Lady Michelle Obama alongside the message “Happy Presidents Day.”
Clinton’s national emergency tweet follows Trump declaring a national emergency Friday to shift billions of federal dollars earmarked for military construction to the border after lawmakers in both parties blocked his request for billions of dollars to fulfill his signature campaign pledge for a border wall.
Democrats are planning to introduce a resolution disapproving of the declaration once Congress returns to session and it is likely to pass both chambers. Several Republican senators are already indicating they would vote against Trump — though there do not yet appear to be enough votes to override a veto by the president.
White House senior adviser Stephen Miller told “Fox News Sunday” that “the president is going to protect his national emergency declaration.” Asked if that meant Trump was ready to veto a resolution of disapproval, Miller added, “He’s going to protect his national emergency declaration, guaranteed.”
Miller insisted that Congress granted the president wide berth under the National Emergencies Act to take action. But Trump’s declaration goes beyond previous emergencies in shifting money after Congress blocked his funding request for the wall, which will likely factor in legal challenges.
Trump aides acknowledge that Trump cannot meet his pledge to build the wall by the time voters decide whether to grant him another term next year, but insist his base will remain by his side as long as he is not perceived to have given up the fight on the barrier.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Presidents Day protests decry Trump’s emergency declaration
CHICAGO (Reuters) – Activists in Washington, Chicago and dozens of other U.S. cities protested on Monday’s Presidents Day holiday against President Donald Trump’s declaration of a national emergency to secure funding for a U.S.-Mexico border wall.
A woman holds a sign during a demonstration against U.S. President Donald Trump on President’s Day near the White House in Washington, U.S., February 18, 2019. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
Calling Trump’s declaration an abuse of power and usurpation of Congress, organizers with the nonprofit advocacy group MoveOn.org and other participants said it was important to let the outrage over the move be heard.
“We disagree with the state of emergency declared by the president and stand with our immigrant colleagues and friends,” said Darcy Regan, executive director of Indivisible Chicago, which co-hosted the protest there.
Trump invoked the emergency powers on Friday after Congress declined to fulfill his request for $5.7 billion to help build the wall that was his signature 2016 campaign promise. His move aims to let him spend money appropriated by Congress for other purposes.
The Republican president says a wall is needed to curb illegal immigrants and illicit drugs coming across the border. Democrats and opponents of the wall say it is unnecessary.
The protests in Chicago and Washington each drew a few hundred people on Monday afternoon.
Protesters gathered in Chicago’s Federal Plaza carried signs that read “Dump Trump” and “Fake Emergency” and chanted “No wall, no fear, immigrants are welcome here.”
Cheryl Krugel-Lee, a 32-year-old student, said she brought her 4-year-old daughter to the protest in freezing weather to set an example for her.
“This was a power grab by the Trump administration, and it’s immoral and illegal,” Krugel-Lee said.
Organizers said 250 events were planned, including in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Democrats have vowed to challenge the national emergency declaration as a violation of the U.S. Constitution. California state Attorney General Xavier Becerra said in television interviews that his state and others would sue the Trump administration on Monday.
Additional reporting by Barbara Goldberg in New York; Writing by Colleen Jenkins; Editing by Dan Grebler
Cory Booker calls warnings about Green New Deal price tag a ‘lie’
“This is the lie that’s going on right now,” Booker told Fox News in Nashua, N.H., as he campaigned in the first-in-the-nation primary state.
The New Jersey senator was asked about the costs of the Green New Deal, which is supported by New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other progressives and aims to implement a range of big-government programs while pursuing a level of “net-zero greenhouse gas emissions” — essentially, a total economic transformation toward clean energy that, among other points, includes building upgrades across the country.
The Wall Street Journal recently reported it cost nearly $2,000 per apartment for the New York City Housing Authority to switch to LED lighting, which lasts longer and consumes less energy than incandescent bulbs. Asked about that report, Booker said it’s possible to “revive your economy, and create a bold green future,” citing his experience as mayor of Newark, N.J.
“We environmentally retrofitted our buildings. Saves taxpayers money, created jobs for our community and lowered our carbon footprint,” Booker said.
He added, “This lie that’s being put out – that somehow being green and responsible with the environment means you have to hurt the economy – a lie.”
The Green New Deal is a sweeping proposal designed to tackle income inequality and climate change at the same time. It’s modeled after President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal package of public works programs and projects created to help the economy during the Great Depression — but in many ways goes much further.
The rollout itself was muddled by the release of Ocasio-Cortez documents that, among other things, promised economic security even for those “unwilling” to work.
The plan itself aims to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions from manufacturing and agriculture and dramatically expand energy sources to meet 100 percent of power demand through renewable sources. The proposal also calls for a job-guarantee program and universal health care, among other things.
Republican critics have vehemently pushed back against the proposal, pointing in part to the price tag – estimated to be about $7 trillion. Republicans have also decried the job guarantee idea, calling it a “deeply flawed policy” that would be detrimental to small businesses.
Fox News’ Kaitlyn Schallhorn contributed to this report.
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