- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 20, 2022

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said he will follow through with his pledge to kick Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota off the House Foreign Affairs Committee in the next Congress.

Ms. Omar, who is losing her committee assignment because of her antisemitic rhetoric, is among a handful of Democrats whom Mr. McCarthy will boot from committees for various offenses. He is following a precedent set by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, in the current Congress.

“I made another promise to you last time. There was this congresswoman, Ilhan Omar,” Mr. McCarthy told attendees at a Republican Jewish Coalition event in Las Vegas on Saturday, eliciting boos from the crowd. 

“That’s a rightful boo,” he said. “I remember what she said about Israel. … I remember it so much. I promised you last year that [when I am] speaker, she no longer would be on Foreign Affairs, and I’m keeping that promise.”

Ms. Omar often lashes out against Israel and once likened the Jewish state to Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. She also lumped in the U.S. and Israel with terrorist groups by saying, “We have seen unthinkable atrocities committed by the U.S., Hamas, Israel, Afghanistan and the Taliban.” 

At least two other House Democrats — Reps. Adam B. Schiff and Eric Swalwell, both of California — can expect to be kicked off of committees, people close to Mr. McCarthy told The Washington Times.

SEE ALSO: House GOP sharpens knives for probes, tells senior Biden officials to get ready to testify

Mrs. Pelosi set the precedent when she removed Republicans — first Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and later Rep. Paul A. Gosar of Arizona — from all their committee assignments over incendiary online posts and rhetoric.

In February 2021, the Democratic-run House voted to strip the newly elected Mrs. Greene of her committee assignments over social media posts embracing conspiracy theories such as questioning whether a plane really hit the Pentagon on 9/11 and her “liking” a comment that said “a bullet to the head would be quicker” to remove Mrs. Pelosi from office.

Mr. Gosar’s offense was posting an animated video on social media depicting a swordsman attacking President Biden and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, New York Democrat. The House voted to censure him and kick him off his committees.

In response to the threat of losing his seat on the intelligence committee, Mr. Schiff called Mr. McCarthy a “weak leader” and a puppet of Mrs. Greene.

“I suspect he will do whatever Marjorie Taylor Greene wants him to do,” Mr. Schiff said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.” “It’s going to be chaos with Republican leadership. And sadly … ‘the crazy caucus’ has grown among the Republicans.”

Mr. McCarthy, California Republican, will mete out punishments tailored to each Democrat’s offense, ejecting them from a single committee rather than removing them from all their committees.

SEE ALSO: White House accuses House GOP of planning frivolous probe of Hunter Biden’s money-making schemes

Mr. McCarthy, who is poised to hold the speaker’s gavel after House Republicans take the majority on Jan. 3, plans to restrict Mr. Schiff and Mr. Swalwell from serving on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

Mr. Schiff, who served as the committee’s top Democrat during the Trump administration, was a chief promoter of the now-discredited dossier compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele that fueled conspiracy theories about Trump-Russia collusion to rig the 2016 presidential election.

He also said then-Rep. Devin Nunes, California Republican, was wrong to criticize the FBI for relying on the Steele dossier to get warrants to surveil Trump campaign figure Carter Page.

Mr. McCarthy called for Mr. Swalwell’s removal from the intelligence committee two years ago after receiving an FBI briefing about Mr. Swalwell’s relationship with Chinese spy Fang Fang.

Mr. Swalwell has said plans to remove him from the committee are mere “retaliation” for the treatment of Mrs. Greene and Mr. Gosar.

“He’s targeting me and he’s targeting Schiff and he’s targeting Ms. Omar because we’re effective. Not for any other reason,” Mr. Swalwell said earlier this year on CNN. “This is the Trumpization of politics. … He’s doing it purely for retaliation purposes, and he’s not even offering a fig leaf as to why he’s doing it.”

Mr. McCarthy has said that Democrats initiated committee stripping. Before Mrs. Pelosi did it, he said, the House majority had never interfered in the minority party’s committee assignments.

Rep. Gregory W. Meeks, a New York Democrat who chairs the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said Republicans will “self-destruct” if they remove Democrats from committees.

“What we did in the majority was trying to move forward for America and remove those that were making physical threats against others,” Mr. Meeks said.

Rep. Ruben Gallego, Arizona Democrat, said removing Democrats from committee assignments would look bad for the new Republican majority.

“If they want to waste their time and [show] the United States that they’re here just for retribution and not for actually doing things to help people, that’s not a good way to start,” Mr. Gallego told The Washington Times.

He said the Democrats’ treatment of Mrs. Greene and Mr. Gosar was appropriate. “It’s always a good precedent to tell White supremacists that they have no place in Congress,” Mr. Gallego said.

Mr. Swalwell and Ms. Omar sit on other committees: Judiciary and Labor, respectively. Unlike what happened to Mr. Gosar and Mrs. Greene, House Republican leaders have given no indication that the Democrats will be rendered without committees.

• Kerry Picket can be reached at kpicket@washingtontimes.com.

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