House Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries slams GOP effort to oust Ilhan Omar as ‘act of political revenge’
House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries strongly condemned Republicans for their effort to remove Congresswoman Ilhan Omar from the House Foreign Affairs Committee at a press conference Thursday ahead of the full floor vote on her ouster.
Flanked by images of tweets from Republican members of Congress Cory Mills, Marjorie Taylor Greene and Thomas Massie, Mr Jeffries directly accused Republican leaders, including House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, of “rewarding” their fellow Republicans whom he said were guilty of making antisemitic comments or using anti-Jewish tropes.
“What’s going to take place on the floor today is not a public policy debate. It’s not about accountability. It’s about political revenge.”
Adding of similar remarks from Republican members that he said had gone unaddressed, Mr Jeffries said that there simply wasn’t time to go through every instance of GOP politicians making comments that were offensive to various minority groups.
“I didn’t have enough time to come here and display for the American people every single thing that has been said by extreme Maga Republicans that has been objected to because I’d be here through the entire 118th Congress,” he remarked.
While quipping that Republicans may not even be able to secure the votes to pass the resolution, Mr Jeffries added that if it did pass, the removal of Ms Omar from Foreign Affairs would serve to sour the relationship between House Democratic leaders and their GOP counterparts.
“This kind of poisonous, toxic double standard, it’s going to complicate the relationship moving forward with House Democrats,” he said.
The fired-up Democratic leader added that Ms Omar’s remarks from four years ago had been swiftly condemned by her colleagues in the party.
And he reiterated his own support for Israel and the special relationship which he stressed was rooted in “shared values and shared strategic interests”.
It was a powerful attack on the credibility of the GOP’s concern for antisemitism that comes as Mr McCarthy is struggling to convince some holdouts in his own party to vote for the resolution; some, like Nancy Mace and Matt Gaetz, have derided the effort as a partisan exercise.
The House narrowly passed a rule vote allowing the beginning of the process on Wednesday, but as Ms Omar was not yet seated on Foreign Affairs, the final vote was delayed until Thursday.
Mr Jeffries concluded that he would examine whether Ms Omar would serve another role in the Congress should the vote to oust her from the committee pass later in the day.