House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy on Tuesday called on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to remove Rep. Ilhan Omar from the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and he promised he would do so if Republicans take the majority in the House, speaking to “Fox and Friends.”
Mr. McCarthy’s escalation is in response to Ms. Omar’s statements last week equating the U.S. and Israel to Hamas and the Taliban while questioning Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
“This is an individual that has not once, but on numerous occasions, been antisemitic,” said Mr. McCarthy, California Republican. “Her own entire Congress had to rebuke her in last one. But she’s just not antisemitic, she’s anti-American now. She’s equating America to Taliban, to Hamas. She’s discrediting our greatest ally in the Middle East, Israel, the only democracy.”
Several Jewish Democrats quickly condemned Ms. Omar for her statements, a move that led to intense infighting within the caucus before Ms. Omar issued a statement clarifying her remarks.
Mrs. Pelosi, California Democrat, and her leadership team strongly discouraged Ms. Omar’s rhetoric but refused to impose a penalty.
By Sunday, Mrs. Pelosi insisted that the statement wasn’t “a rebuke” of Ms. Omar, the first Somali American and the first naturalized U.S. citizen of African birth elected to Congress.
In response, a group of House Republicans, led by Rep. Michael Waltz of Florida, introduced a resolution to formally censure Ms. Omar and the three other members of “The Squad” for their rhetoric, which they said defended terrorist organizations and contributed to antisemitic attacks.
The other Republicans who introduced the bill was Rep. Jim Banks of Indiana. Rep. Vicky Hartzler, Missouri Republican, also signed on to the bill Tuesday morning.
While Mr. McCarthy was reportedly considering a separate resolution to strip Ms. Omar of her seat on the Foreign Affairs Committee, his remarks Tuesday marked his first public statement highlighting his intent to do so.
The matter was also a point of discussion at a House Republican Leadership news conference Tuesday morning, where House Minority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana called on Democrats to take action.
“Why won’t President Biden stand up to the antisemites in his own party?” Mr. Scalise said. “You’re seeing this big fight within the Democrat Party right now over antisemites and whether they’re going to stand up and confront this problem. It’s a real problem. It’s yet another crisis that they refuse to confront. But we’re going to continue to call them out.”
Mr. Scalise said Republicans are keeping all options on the table.
“Clearly you’re seeing a number of pieces of legislation,” he said. “I think you’re seeing some internal conversations on the Democrat caucus side. Frankly, they should be the ones to take actions to police their own members. But they’re having that internal fight. We’re looking at options on our side right now.”