WASHINGTON — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told reporters at her weekly press conference today that Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) “perhaps appreciated the full weight” of how her words are “heard by other people, although I don’t believe it was intended in an anti-Semitic way.”
The House resolution condemning anti-Semitism — which didn’t mention Omar by name but came after she questioned the allegiance of Israel supporters in Congress and the strength of the pro-Israel lobby — underwent a rewrite to also condemn other forms of hate.
The resolution condemns “anti-Semitism as hateful expressions of intolerance that are contradictory to the values and aspirations that define the people of the United States and condemning anti-Muslim discrimination and bigotry against minorities as hateful expressions of intolerance that are contrary to the values and aspirations of the United States.”
“I always have and always will stand in opposition to any and all forms of hatred and discrimination, including white supremacy, racism, transphobia, ableism, sexism, homophobia, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, and xenophobia– there is no hierarchy of hurt. This week, Congresswoman Omar and her loved ones have had their humanity threatened, both by the general public and by government officials,” said Omar ally Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.). “This is unconscionable. We should have equity in our outrage.”
Said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on the floor of the upper chamber: “Apparently, within the Speaker’s new far-left Democrat majority, even a symbolic resolution condemning anti-Semitism seems to be a bridge too far. Well, I expect I and other members will have more to say on this subject. For today, I just want to let this speak for itself.”
Pelosi said members of the House Democratic Caucus “had different tacks they want to take,” whether sounding off via individual statements or passing a resolution. “I thought the resolution should be largely issued to anti-Semitism, and Islamophobia, etc., anti-white supremacist, and that it should not mention her name,” she said.
Pelosi said the resolution doesn’t name Omar “because it’s not about her.”
“It’s up to her to explain but I do not believe that she understood the full weight of the words,” she added. “…When you cross that threshold into Congress your words weigh much more than when you’re shouting it at somebody outside. And I feel confident that her words were not based on any anti-Semitic attitude but that she didn’t have a full appreciation of how they landed on other people where these words have a history and a cultural impact that might have been unknown to her.”
The House was scheduled to begin debate on the resolution this afternoon.