Gaetz ‘undecided’ on removing Omar from Foreign Affairs Committee, says McCarthy ‘deserves deference’
Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., has come out in support of House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s decision to remove Reps. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., and Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., from the House Intelligence Committee, but when it comes to McCarthy’s push to oust Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., from the House Foreign Affairs Committee he remains unsure.
Omar has been criticized for anti-Israel remarks that incorporated antisemitic tropes. In a Newsmax appearance Monday evening, Gaetz said he did not view this as requiring removal from a committee the same way he did with Schiff and Swalwell.
“I view the Schiff and Swalwell matter somewhat differently than I view the Ilhan Omar matter. Ilhan Omar didn’t lie about our intelligence agencies, she didn’t say that Trump was a Russian agent based on information from a particular committee that was just totally bogus,” Gaetz said. “The reason I think a lot of Republicans want to kick Ilhan Omar off of the Foreign Affairs Committee is because they don’t like what she has to say.”
Omar’s statements include a 2012 tweet in which she said, “Israel has hypnotized the world, may Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel,” and another from 2019 that said, “It’s all about the Benjamins baby,” in reference to why lawmakers supported Israel.
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Gaetz said he does not know if this is quite enough to warrant removal from the committee.
“I’m undecided on that question because the Democrats moved the Overton window,” the congressman said, referencing the range of ideas considered to be acceptable in the mainstream. “And I do believe Speaker McCarthy deserves deference, and so I want to hear him out. But I am undecided, as of tonight, as to whether or not I would vote to remove Ilhan Omar from the Foreign Affairs Committee because it’s one thing to do dangerous things to the country with intelligence, it’s quite another to say, ‘I don’t like your viewpoint and thus I want to remove you.’”
Gaetz noted that he opposed such an approach “when it was directed at my friend and colleague Marjorie Taylor Greene,” and that he is “uncomfortable that the case against Ilhan Omar isn’t being subjected to any due process.” He added that “if they think that she’s brought discredit on the House, there’s actually a House rule where there can be an ethics investigation and there can be a resolution with due process.”
REP. ILHAN OMAR PRESSED ON OLD COMMENTS: ‘WASN’T AWARE’ THERE WERE ‘TROPES ABOUT JEWS AND MONEY’
For those reasons, Gaetz said that the House “shouldn’t lump Omar and Schiff and Swalwell together in one bucket.”
In order to remove Omar, the House would have to vote on it. Republicans hold a slim majority, with GOP Reps. Victoria Sparks, R-Ind., Nancy Mace, R-S.C., and Ken Buck, R-Colo., already stating they were against removal.
Omar addressed her past statements during a group interview with Schiff and Swalwell on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday. She claimed ignorance about her comments being charged with antisemitic themes, saying, “I wasn’t aware of the fact that there are tropes about Jews and money.”
The explanation was not well received by all.
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“Right, and I wasn’t aware the earth was round,” international human rights lawyer Arsen Ovstrovsky tweeted. “I hope no believes Omar, a liar and unrepentant antisemite. She does not deserve to be on the House Foreign Affairs Comm.”
“Give me a break. That’s BS,” Steve Guest, special advisor of communications for Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said of Omar’s defense.
Ohio Rep. Max Miller also fired back at his new colleague, tweeting “lazy stereotypes about Jews & money are some of the oldest anti-Semitic tropes in the book. I have a hard time buying these claims of ignorance. Ilhan Omar has no place serving on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.”
G3 Box News’ Yael Halon contributed to this report.