In a fiery speech, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) rips the removal of Rep. Ilhan Omar as “one of the disgusting legacies of 9/11” – On Thursday, House Republicans followed through on threats to remove Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) from the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
Omar had come under fire, in her first years in Congress, for a series of controversial statements about Jews and Israel. The vote ended up going along party lines, although one Republican, Rep. Dave Joyce of Ohio, voted present.
Omar had been on the House Foreign Affairs Committee in the previous Congress when Democrats were in the majority in the House.
“There is this idea that you are a suspect if you are an immigrant, or if you are from certain parts of the world or a certain skin tone, or a Muslim. It is no accident that members of the Republican Party accused the first black president, Barack Obama, of being a secret Muslim,” Rep. Omar said on the floor of the House.
“Well, I am Muslim, I am an immigrant, and interestingly, from Africa. Is anyone surprised that I am being targeted? Is anyone surprised that I am somehow deemed unworthy to speak about American foreign policy? Or that they see me as a powerful voice that needs to be silenced?”
Delivering an especially fiery speech, in defense of her colleague, was Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez or AOC (D-NY). She denounced, “one of the disgusting legacies after 9/11 has been the targeting and racism against Muslim-Americans throughout the United States of America.”
She turned it back on Republicans in the House.
“Consistency? There is nothing consistent with the Republican party’s continued attacks, except for the racism and incitement of violence against women of color in this body,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “I had a member of the Republican caucus threaten my life and you all— and the Republican caucus rewarded him with one of the most prestigious committee assignments in this Congress.”
This was a reference to Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ). In 2021, Gosar’s account posted an anime video to social media which depicted Gosar murdering AOC, and swinging swords at various Democrats, including President Biden. As a result, the House voted to formally censure Gosar and also to strip him of his committee assignments.
Gosar, stopping short of an apology, later said on the floor of the House that “I do not espouse violence towards anyone. I never have. It was not my purpose to make anyone upset,” but rather that the video was meant to illustrate a “policy battle regarding amnesty for tens of millions of illegal aliens.”
Gosar, along with Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), another lawmaker who had been removed from committees in the previous Congress, has been added to the House Oversight Committee. Gosar has also returned to the House Committee on Natural Resources.
Ocasio-Cortez also referenced Greene in her speech.
“Don’t tell me this is about the condemnation of antisemitic remarks when you have a member of the Republican caucus who has talked about Jewish space lasers.. and also elevated her to some of the highest committee assignments in this body?” AOC said, in reference to the past controversy involving Greene.
“This is about targeting women of color in the United States of America,” the Congresswoman said. “Don’t tell me… because I didn’t get a single apology when my life was threatened.”
After the vote, Rep. George Santos (R-NY) got up and congratulated his colleagues for removing Omar from the committee because the action “sends a strong message that we support Israel and the Jewish community.” Santos came under fire late last year, among many other reasons, for falsely claiming to hold Jewish heritage. A recent poll shows that 94 percent of Jewish constituents in Santos’ district want him to resign.
Expertise and Experience: Stephen Silver is a Senior Editor for 19FortyFive. He is an award-winning journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.