Democratic Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York delivered an impassioned speech defending Representative Ilhan Omar of Minnesota ahead of the Republican vote to remove Ms Omar from the House Foreign Affairs Committee .
House Republicans removed Ms Omar for comments they considered antisemitic, for which Ms Omar apologised. But Democrats say that Republicans are engaging in Islamophobia.
“Now as also as a fellow New Yorker, I think one of the things we should talk about here is also one of the disgusting legacies of 9/11 has been the targeting and racism against muslim Americans throughout the United States of America. And this is an extension of that legacy,” she said.
Republicans said that their desire to remove Ms Omar was a matter of consistency since Democrats voted to remove Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Representative Paul Gosar of Arizona last Congress.
The House also censured Mr Gosar after he tweeted a video of an anime wherein a character with Mr Gosar’s head killing a character with Ms Ocasio-Cortez’s head on it.
“I had a member of the Republican caucus threaten my life,” Ms Ocasio-Cortez said. “And the Republican caucus rewarded him with one of the most prestigious committee assignments. Don’t tell me this is about consistency.”
She also said that Republicans were hypocrites for talking about antisemitism when they have elevated Ms Greene, who has promoted antisemitic tropes.
“This is about targeting women of colour in the United States of apology,” she said. “Don’t tell me because I didn’t get a single apology when my life was threatened.”
Other Democrats, including Jewish Democratic members of Congress such as Representatives Jan Schakowsky, Dean Phillips and Adam Schiff came to Ms Omar’s defence and noted how Republicans did not condemn former president Donald Trump’s antisemitism.
Ms Omar was one of the first two Muslim female of the House of Representatives elected to Congress in 2018, along with Democratic Representative Rashida Tlaib of Michigan.
Ms Tlaib delivered an impassioned speech defending Ms Omar.
“To Congresswoman Omar, I am so sorry that our country is failing you today through this chamber,” she said through tears. “You belong on this committee.”
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