In 2021, Reps. Paul A. Gosar (R-Ariz.) and Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) lost committee seats after receiving violent remarks against peers Position. Gosar released a video showing him killing Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.); CNN unearthed Greene’s comments in which she appeared to support the execution of Democrats. McCarthy proposed downgrading Green’s committee mandates, but the Democratic majority opted to eliminate all of them.
This year, McCarthy became Speaker of the House of Representatives. And, in short order, he announced that some Democratic representatives would be kicked out of key committees: Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) and Eric Swalwell (D-Cal.) were removed from the With the removal of the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) will lose her position on House Foreign Affairs, he said.
Swalwell and Schiff were targeted because of the former’s ties to a Chinese intelligence official (a connection much stronger in conservative media circles than in reality), and the latter because of his 2019 push for the impeachment of Donald Trump. A key figure in President Trump. The official reason for Omar’s removal centered on anti-Semitic comments she made in the past – comments that sparked a furor that undoubtedly had something to do with her Muslim religion.
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In an interview with CNN about McCarthy’s proposal, Omar said her religion played a role. “Many of these members don’t believe Muslim refugees, Africans should even be in Congress, let alone have the chance to serve on the Foreign Affairs Committee,” she said of her colleagues. She denied accusing McCarthy of racism, But notice his relative indifference when Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colorado) joked that Omar was a terrorist.
The path from Omar’s religious beliefs to her ouster from the Foreign Affairs Committee was at least more circuitous than outright Islamophobic or racist beliefs, but it was still clear.
Omar was elected to Congress in 2018, and a devout Muslim, she was sworn in on the Koran in January 2019. Soon, an errant meme popped up on right-wing social media falsely claiming she had committed treason in doing so. In the months that followed, Omar faced various baseless allegations, many of which related to her experience as a refugee in Africa.
A few months into her tenure, Omar praised the work of the Council on American-Islamic Relations after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and sparked a conservative media frenzy in a way she was framed for dismissing the attacks herself. She has apologized after comments on social media that capitalized on long-standing anti-Semitic rhetoric, which she insisted were unintentional.
That summer, Trump attacked Omar and a group of other incoming lawmakers — all progressive women of color — who said they should “go back” to “the totally broken and crime-ridden places they came from.” , even though most of the women were born in the United States. (He had earlier released an ad attempting to capitalize on the uproar over Omar’s 9/11 remarks, using footage of the burning World Trade Center.) He continued his attacks for days, partly by promoting Omar’s anti-Semitic comments. Quiet comments criticizing him as a racist.
Trump also targeted Omar dozens of times in the years that followed. By the time of the 2020 presidential election, the attacks will be nothing more than invoking Omar’s name. No other context is required.
“Omar is our secret weapon. Ilhan Omar, this is our secret weapon in Minnesota,” he said at a rally in late October 2020. “No, she doesn’t love our country, you know. I don’t like people who don’t love our country at all.”
McCarthy (who was forced to delete a tweet of his own in 2018 that made use of anti-Semitic rhetoric similar to some of Omar’s) has generally been passive about Trump’s increasingly hostile rhetoric toward Omar . In 2021, though, he accepted the apparent media value of attacking Schiff and Omar, and said he would remove Omar from her committee if Republicans regained control of the House because of her “anti-Semitic, anti-American views.” delisted.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy followed Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN):
“I promise you: Omar would not be in foreign affairs if we were lucky enough to have a majority [Committee] Or anyone with anti-Semitic, anti-American views. ” pic.twitter.com/aLUGsJfW2t
– The Recount (@therecount) June 15, 2021
The most direct response to characterizing Omar as “anti-American” is A widely condemned tweet From Omar, in which she denounced “the unimaginable atrocities committed by the US, Hamas, Israel, Afghanistan and the Taliban”. But keep in mind that Trump’s description of her as hating the country predates this tweet by half a year.
It is clear to many on the right that Omar doubted loyalty from the first moment she took office, for no apparent reason other than her religious beliefs. Omar’s various comments—some clearly questionable, others exaggerated in conservative media—have been nailed to that narrative. Fueled in part by Trump’s comments and her religious views, Omar became a poster child for the right’s framing of its opponents as far left, anti-Israel and anti-American. This is how and why Trump promoted her, and by doing so created political value for other Republicans who also targeted her.
Of course, McCarthy and his allies don’t see this as a result of Omar’s religious beliefs. In fact, Republicans say Muslims are much less likely to face discrimination than Americans overall. A YouGov poll in December found that Republicans think Muslims are about as likely to face discrimination as they think Christians are.
But if Omar had never made those comments about Israel, she probably wouldn’t be McCarthy’s target now. Did she make these comments instead of the devout Muslim who has sparked condemnation from the right since day one? This moment may look completely different again.