‘If that member was a Republican, that member’s name would be in this resolution…’
(Lindsey McPherson, CQ-Roll Call) The House on Thursday overwhelmingly—but notably, not unanimously—passed a resolution to condemn anti-Semitism, racism and Islamophobia, ending days of spirited debate over the appropriate response recent comments from Minnesota Democratic freshman Ilhan Omar.
The final vote was 407-23. All of the “no” votes came from Republicans, including their No. 3, Conference Chairwoman Liz Cheney of Wyoming. Cheney was among the first three “no” votes recorded and several other Republicans seemed to be following her lead.
Most Democrats and Republicans said Omar’s recent comments questioning “the political influence in this country that says it is OK to push for allegiance to a foreign country” was anti-Semitic because it invoked a dangerous stereotype about dual loyalties.
But many rank-and-file Democrats objected to their leaders’ effort to respond to that remark with a resolution rejecting the myth of dual loyalty and condemning anti-Semitism. They said it unfairly attacked Omar when President Donald Trump and others have regularly espoused hateful rhetoric.
Democratic leaders, working with the heads of several committees and caucuses, responded to those concerns by updating the resolution with language that rejected other forms of hate such as anti-Muslim discrimination and racism.
The vote Thursday was delayed slightly more than an hour after Democrats made one final tweak to add a clause about white supremacists continuing “to exploit bigotry and weaponize hate for political gain.”
Democrats held the vote open long past the allotted time, reveling in the moment as the Republican “no” votes ticked up.
Republicans poked fun at Democrats for spending all week agonizing over the nonbinding resolution during the floor debate on the measure, even though some said they would support it.
“This week, the entire week almost, has been taken up by sentiments of a member that were anti-Semitic,” House Judiciary ranking member Doug Collins said.
The original draft text of the anti-Semitism resolution that Democratic leaders circulated Monday was four pages long, and the final, broader anti-hate version was seven. Collins, who voted for the resolution, said he received three or four different versions leading up to the vote.
“How long does it take to figure out, ‘Just don’t hate?'” the Georgia Republican said. “How many pages does it take to cite ill and evil? Evil is evil.”
New York Rep. Lee Zeldin, one of the Republicans who voted “no,” argued that Omar was getting preferential treatment because she’s a Democrat. He and Omar sparred on Twitter earlier this year over earlier anti-Israel comments she made.
“If that member was a Republican, that member’s name would be in this resolution and this resolution would be all about condemning anti-Semitism and it would be done forcefully,” Zeldin said.
Zeldin also pointed out that Omar has not apologized for her most recent comments and said, unlike Speaker Nancy Pelosi, he thinks Omar knew what she was saying was anti-Semitic.
“I don’t believe she is naive,” he said. “I believe she knows exactly what she is doing.”
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