WASHINGTON, Feb 3 (PTI): Democratic Party Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, known for her frequent anti-India tirade, has been voted out of the powerful foreign affairs committee by the Republican-majority House of Representatives, a move that was quickly condemned by the White House.
The House voted to remove her from the House Foreign Affairs Committee with 218 to 211 votes on the party lines.
“We just do not believe when it comes to foreign affairs, especially the responsibility of that position around the world with the comments that you make. She (Illhan Omar) shouldn’t serve there,” House Speaker Kevin McCarthy told reporters after the vote on Thursday.
“Moving forward, every single member of the Congress has a responsibility to know how they carry themselves,” McCarthy said.
The White House described the move as “unjust”.
“The way that we see this, it’s a political stunt, much like House Republicans’ unjust removal of other leading Democrats from key committees in recent weeks. It is a disservice to the American people,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters at her daily news conference.
“What we believe is Congresswoman Omar is a highly respected member of the Congress. She has apologised for her comments she made in the past. I think she — most recently — did an extensive interview about this on Sunday, I believe on CNN, and has been vocal about condemning antisemitism as well as affirming our strong alliance and important partnership with Israel,” Jean-Pierre said.
In an emotional speech on the House floor, Omar said she was not surprised. “Is anyone surprised that I am somehow deemed unworthy to speak about American foreign policy or that they see me as a powerful voice that needs to be silenced? Frankly it is expected because when you push power, power pushes back,” she said.
Omar, 40, is the third Muslim lawmaker in the US House of Representatives. She represents the fifth Congressional District of Minnesota. Over the past few years, she has engaged herself in anti-India tirade both inside and outside the House. She has also been a fierce critic of Israel and the Jewish lobby.