Current House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) told attendees at a Republican Jewish Coalition leadership meeting in Las Vegas on Saturday that he intends to remove Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) from her position on the House Foreign Affairs Committee if he is elected as Speaker of the House in January.
His promise to remove Omar from the powerful committee stems from her comments that McCarthy described as antisemitic. He told the attendees that America has seen “antisemitism grow, not just on our campuses, but we watched it grow In the halls of Congress.”
Last year, I promised that when I became Speaker, I would remove Rep. Ilhan Omar from the House Foreign Affairs Committee based on her repeated anti-semitic and anti-American remarks.
I'm keeping that promise. pic.twitter.com/04blBx3neD
— Kevin McCarthy (@GOPLeader) November 19, 2022
The audience applauded McCarthy’s reiteration of a commitment he made last year to remove Omar from the committee when he said on Saturday: “I’m keeping that promise.”
McCarthy posted a tweet on Saturday with a clip of his address to the conference. Some users responded by arguing that the Speaker does not have the legal authority to unilaterally remove a member from a standing committee like foreign affairs. It remains unclear whether McCarthy would need a vote of the House membership to remove Omar.
Republicans are on course to retake a slim majority in the House after the midterm elections earlier this month. With only four House races left to be called, the GOP has taken the 218 seats needed for a majority, compared to 213 seats for Democrats. Republicans lead in the four races that are yet to be declared.
McCarthy was nominated by the House Republican delegation last week to become Speaker when the new Congress is seated on January 3, 2023. However, he still must have an overall majority of the votes by the entire House to win the leadership position.
Omar was first elected to the House in 2018 and has been one of the members of the “Squad,” a group of younger leftist Democrats elected to the House that year celebrated by the corporate media and led by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY).
Omar has routinely made controversial comments perceived as falling in line with standard antisemitic slights. She said that the work of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee is “all about the Benjamins.” Before her first Congressional election, Omar said in a tweet that Israel has “hypnotized the world.”
She has also equated the U.S.-Israel coalition to the Taliban, referring to the “unthinkable atrocities” of both groups. Omar has also submitted a House resolution that would have called for a boycott of Israel, which she compared her demand to boycotting the Nazi Party.