House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, who got the job last month after the longest speaker’s election in American history since the eve of the Civil War, made good on his promise to remove Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota from the powerful House Foreign Affairs Committee.
In a party line vote of 218-211, she was removed on what Republicans have said are “antisemitic and anti-American remarks.” Rep. Omar has since apologized for remarks she made in the past regarding Jews.
The removal of Rep. Omar is seen as revenge by Republicans for the removal of two of their members, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green and Rep. Paul Gosar, from committee assignments in 2021 when Democrats were in control.
Democrats had removed Greene after remarks comparing COVID-19 mask requirements and vaccinations to Nazi Germany. Prior to joining Congress, Rep. Greene had made an antisemitic claim that a space laser was used to start a California wildfire. Gosar on his part had shared an anime clip showing him killing Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY). Both Greene and Gosar were reinstated back to committees last month after Republicans took control of the House.
Congresswoman Omar who is serving a third term has always faced death threats since assuming office and this week was no exception as news of her impending ouster gained steam.
Yesterday, Rep. Omar tweeted a voicemail she received this week in which a man said “I’ll put a bullet in your f—— head and get the f— out of my country.”
Rep. Omar and Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) in 2018 became the first Muslim women elected to Congress. After their election, when Democrats took over the House in January 2019, they pushed through a rule change to overhaul a 181-year-old rule that banned hats from the floor to allow those like Rep. Omar that wear a hijab.
On Thursday, in a defiant speech on the House floor shortly before the vote, Rep. Omar said, “My leadership and voice will not be diminished if I am not on this committee for one term … my voice will get louder and stronger.”
House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), the first Black person to lead a major party in Congress, announced that he will seat the ousted Congresswoman in the Budget Committee. Her ouster from the Foreign Affairs Committee does not affect her membership in the Education and Labor Committee where she also currently sits.
“The highly partisan vote to remove @Ilhan was not about accountability,” Jeffries tweeted. “It was about political revenge. I will move immediately to seat Rep. Omar on the House Budget Committee. Where she will defend Democratic values against right-wing extremism.”
About Tom Gitaa Gitaa
Born and raised in Kenya's coastal city of Mombasa, Tom is the Founder, Editor-in-Chief and Publisher of Mshale which has been reporting on the news and culture of African immigrants in the United States since 1995. He has a BA in Business from Metro State University and a Public Leadership Credential from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. He was the original host of Talking Drum, the signature current affairs show on the African Broadcasting Network (ABN-America), which was available nationwide in the United States via the Dish Network satellite service. On the show, he interviewed Nobel laureates such as 2004 Nobel Peace prize winner, Professor Wangari Maathai, the first woman from Africa to win the peace prize and heads of states. Tom has served and chaired various boards including Global Minnesota (formerly Minnesota International Center), the sixth largest World Affairs Council in the United States. He has previously served as the first Black President of the Board of Directors at Books for Africa. He also serves on the boards of New Vision Foundation and the Minnesota Multicultural Media Consortium. He has previously served two terms on the board of the United Nations Association. An avid runner, he retired from running full marathons after turning 50 and now only focuses on training for half marathons.
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