(Bloomberg) — Democrat Ilhan Omar expressed confidence that she will retain her seat on the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, saying accusations that she is anti-Semitic are part of attempts by political enemies to smear her.
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“To insinuate that I said these things knowingly when people read my comments to make it sound like I have something against the Jewish communities is so wrong,” Omar said on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday. .
Democrats voted unanimously last week in a closed-door meeting to allow Omar to remain on the committee despite allegations that she used anti-Semitic tropes in previous comments, for which she has apologized.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has said he would like to remove Omar, allowing a potential floor vote to take place in the closely divided chamber. Republican leaders could pass the resolution to remove the Minnesota Democrat from the committee as early as Monday.
Omar said two Republicans have said publicly they will not remove her, while others have done so privately. “To smear someone and his character, his love for his country and the work he gets to do on a committee is wrong,” she said.
“I didn’t know there are tropes about Jews and money,” she said.
Read more: Ilhan Omar’s foreign affairs seat looms as potential floor fight
Representative Adam Schiff, a California Democrat who is Jewish, supported Omar during a joint appearance on CNN, calling the argument that she is anti-Semitic “a pretext” driven by McCarthy’s reliance on “extreme members” of his caucus. He cited former President Donald Trump’s dinner with a white nationalist at his Florida home last year.
McCarthy said last week he was blocking Schiff and another California Democrat, Eric Swalwell, from serving on the House Intelligence Committee, fulfilling a long-standing promise.
Read more: McCarthy blocks two Democrats from rejoining intelligence panel
Schiff called the decision last week “small, political payback” for investigating Trump. Schiff served as lead manager in the former president’s first impeachment trial, and McCarthy said Schiff lied when he was chairman of the panel, which Schiff denies.
Swalwell, who also appeared on CNN on Sunday, said McCarthy “is using his ability to commit this political abuse as a weapon because he sees me, like Mr. Schiff and Ms. Omar, as an effective political opponent.”
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