Democrats were trying to 'protect' Omar with resolution denouncing hate, Rep. Cheney says
Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., said Sunday that House Democrats were trying to protect Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., with last week's resolution broadly denouncing hate, as a Democratic co-author of the measure pushed back, arguing that "history is going to judge" those who voted against it.
Cheney was one of 23 lawmakers, all Republicans, who opposed the resolution, which condemned anti-Semitism and discrimination against Muslims in equal measure and overwhelmingly passed the House on Thursday. Democrats had introduced the resolution in an effort to move past alleged anti-Semitic comments by Omar, a freshman Muslim congresswoman.
In an interview on NBC News' "Meet the Press," Cheney described the House resolution as "clearly an effort to actually protect Ilhan Omar, to cover up her bigotry and anti-Semitism by refusing to name her."
"They are protecting her by failing to put a resolution on the floor that names her and strips her of her committee assignment. Instead, they put a resolution on the floor which she then went out and said, 'This is a tremendous victory for me,'" Cheney said.
Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., one of the resolution's lead sponsors, pushed back in an interview on MSNBC on Sunday afternoon. He called the measure the most powerful anti-Semitism resolution "in the history of the United States Congress" and argued that those who opposed it were wrong to do so.
"History is going to judge them very harshly for that," Raskin said.
He went on to take aim at President Donald Trump for his campaign's closing TV ad during the 2016 race. The ad - which featured images of billionaire philanthropist George Soros, Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein and then-Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, all of whom are Jewish - was "the most anti-Semitic TV ad in American history," Raskin said.
After last week's vote, Omar issued a statement with fellow Muslim Reps. Andre Carson, D-Ind., and Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., calling the vote "historic on many fronts" for denouncing "all forms of bigotry."
"Our nation is having a difficult conversation and we believe this is great progress," they wrote.
Omar has been the subject of verbal attacks and threats in recent weeks, including a sign posted in the West Virginia State Capitol that falsely linked her to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
Asked about concerns among House Democrats that naming Omar would have made her a target of more threats in the future, Cheney argued that Democratic leaders were nonetheless "enabling anti-Semitism" by crafting a broad resolution.
"I think it is absolutely shameful that Nancy Pelosi and Leader (Steny) Hoyer and the Democratic leaders will not put her name in a resolution on the floor and condemn her remarks and remove her from the House Foreign Affairs Committee," the Republican lawmaker said.
Trump has sought to use the resolution against Democrats, arguing on Friday that the party has become "anti-Israel" and "anti-Jewish."
"I thought yesterday's vote by the House was disgraceful," he told reporters. "I thought that vote was a disgrace, and so does everybody else if you get an honest answer."
Democrats on Sunday disputed that characterization, with Rep. Katie Hill, D-Calif., noting that the resolution passed on a bipartisan basis.
"I don't think that there's any validity to what he's saying," Hill said in an interview on "Fox News Sunday." She added that "if we're going to condemn one sort of behavior, then why should we isolate it to one group? We should condemn all forms."
Rep. Will Hurd, R-Texas, said that while he backed the resolution, he understood why some members of his party chose not to.
"I voted for it because you shouldn't hate people, period, end of story," Hurd said on CNN's "State of the Union." "We learn that stuff in kindergarten. What I think many of my colleagues were doing in voting against it was lodging they're being upset about (the fact) that this was watered down; it wasn't narrow."
This article was written by Felicia Sonmez, a reporter for The Washington Post.