Despite releasing a statement last week condemning Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) over a tweet that seemingly compared the United States with the Taliban, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi attempted to claim on Sunday that she did not, in fact, rebuke the progressive lawmaker.
After asking Secretary of State Antony Blinken where the victims of attacks from the Israeli and Afghan governments can go for justice, Omar tweeted last week that we “must have the same level of accountability and justice for all victims of crimes against humanity.”
“We have seen unthinkable atrocities committed by the U.S., Hamas, Israel, Afghanistan, and the Taliban,” the Minnesota congresswoman added, sparking intense backlash across the ideological spectrum.
A group of 12 Jewish members of Congress released a joint statement on Wednesday decrying Omar’s tweet, saying it was “as offensive as it is misguided” to equate the U.S. and Israel to terrorist organizations. The Muslim congresswoman has said her comments were taken out of context, while other Democratic women of color have stood up for her, with some claiming the criticism amounts to Islamophobia.
Omar would later clarify her remarks, insisting she was in “no way equating terrorist organizations with democratic countries with well-established judicial systems.” However, Pelosi and other members of House Democratic leadership released a statement criticizing Omar, stating that “drawing false equivalencies between democracies” and terrorist groups “foments prejudice.”
The Dem leaders’ statement also thanked Omar for issuing a clarification of her remarks, something Pelosi leaned on heavily during a Sunday interview on CNN’s State of the Union.
Noting that the speaker had put out a “pretty rare statement rebuking” Omar, anchor Dana Bash brought up Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) saying Democratic leadership “should be ashamed” for going after the congresswoman.
“Let me just say this. We did not rebuke her,” Pelosi interjected. “We acknowledged that she made a clarification.”
Waving off Tlaib’s criticism, the speaker went on to say that Omar is a “valued member of our caucus” before saying that “nobody criticized” Omar’s question to Blinken and instead members were only concerned with the tweet.
“And and then she clarified it. And we thanked her for clarification,” Pelosi added.
“So do you want people to let it go?” Bash wondered aloud.
“They can say whatever they want,” the speaker bluntly responded. “What I’m saying is end of subject. She clarified, we thanked her, end of subject.”
“Whatever people go out and say is up to them, but what happened is a reflection of the respect we have for our member when she made her questions at the hearing, but the disagreement that we have to equate the United States of America with Hamas and the Taliban,” she concluded.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), who rallied to Omar's defense last week, also appeared on State of the Union and blasted Democratic leadership's actions towards her fellow Squad mate.
“I believe that her comments were absolutely mischaracterized,” she declared, adding: “This whole hubbub started with right-wing news outlets taking what she said out of context. And when we feed into that, it adds legitimacy to a lot of this kind of right-wing vitriol.”