Congresswoman Ilhan Omar (D-MN) struck back fiercely at President Trump today after the notoriously bigoted president called for the representative’s resignation over her criticism of the influence that the pro-Israel lobbying group, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), has on Congress.
After her tweet questioning the degree to which AIPAC affected U.S. policy towards Israel and its treatment of Palestinians in territories the country has occupied since 1967, Omar faced accusations of anti-Semitism from people who deliberately mistook her opposition to Israeli government policies with prejudice against the Jewish people.
Responding to the backlash — which led to calls for her removal from the House Foreign Affairs Committee — Rep. Omar apologized for any offense her tweet had caused.
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“Anti-Semitism is real and I am grateful for Jewish allies and colleagues who are educating me on the painful history of anti-Semitic tropes,” Omar said. “My intention is never to offend my constituents or Jewish Americans as a whole. We have to always be willing to step back and think through criticism, just as I expect people to hear me when others attack me for my identity. This is why I unequivocally apologize.”
An unequivocal apology was not enough for President Trump — a man for whom an apology is a foreign concept and an admission of personal weakness that he cannot tolerate. He told reporters yesterday that the congresswoman’s atonement was “lame” and hypocritically called for her resignation over a statement that was far less offensive than many of the vitriolic rants the president himself has spewed.
“Anti-Semitism has no place in the United States Congress,” Trump was quoted as saying at a Cabinet meeting. “And I think she should either resign from Congress or she should certainly resign from the House Foreign Affairs Committee.”
Trump apparently exempts his own White House from the prohibition on anti-Semitism, given his own penchant for retweeting right-wing conspiracy theories involving progressive billionaire George Soros, the nexus of neo-Nazi anti-Jewish tropes — conspiracy theories that directly inspired the massacre of eight Jews at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh.
Representative Omar took to Twitter to point out Trump’s hypocrisy and compared her own reflections on and remorse for the effects of her words and actions with the president’s complete inability to learn from his own mistakes and accept responsibility for the consequences of his hateful speech.
You have trafficked in hate your whole life—against Jews, Muslims, Indigenous, immigrants, black people and more. I learned from people impacted by my words. When will you? https://t.co/EqqTyjkiNE
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) February 13, 2019
The answer to Rep. Omar’s question is most likely never.
The chances of the 72-year-old president learning any new tricks at this stage of his life are virtually nil, so the opportunity for Trump to understand that he shouldn’t be throwing stones from his glass White House is far in the past.
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Original reporting by John Bowden at The Hill.