Congress

Trump calls on Rep. Ilhan Omar to resign

Criticism of Omar’s tweet was amplified when Democratic leaders released a statement condemning it as 'deeply offensive'

Post-It Notes with words of support are posted on the nameplate for Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., outside her office in the Longworth House Office Building on Monday, Feb. 11, 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump called on Minnesota Democrat Ilhan Omar to step down Tuesday after the Muslim-American congresswoman made remarks about an Israeli political organization that drew rebukes from her own caucus.

“I think she should either resign from Congress or she should certainly resign from the House Foreign Affairs Committee,” Trump said during a Cabinet meeting. The president alleged Omar has anti-Israeli views “deep seeded in her heart” and labeled her Monday apology “lame.”

The president reportedly said Monday he thinks Omar “should be ashamed of herself.”

“I think it was a terrible statement, and I don’t think her apology was adequate,” he said, according to The Hill newspaper.

Watch: Trump calls on Rep. Ilhan Omar to resign

Omar received an avalanche of condemnation from members of Congress Monday for her tweet quoting the P. Diddy lyric, “It’s all about the Benjamins baby,” to ascribe Republicans’ fierce opposition to boycotting Israel to the power of the lobbying group the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.

The tweet came in response media reports that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy had condemned Omar and Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., for their support of the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS). The non-violent movement calls on governments and corporations to exert financial pressure on Israel in an effort to recognize the rights of Palestinians.

AIPAC is a nonprofit organization that lobbies to strengthen Israel’s relationship with the United States. AIPAC spends millions annually on lobbying efforts, and the group’s clout inside the Beltway is demonstrated by its record of legislative successes. 

But some journalists and members of Congress criticized the tweet as relying on the anti-Semitic trope that politicians are swayed by “Jewish money.”

That criticism was amplified when Democratic leadership, including Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, released a statement condemning Omar’s tweet as “deeply offensive.”

Omar released a statement shortly after saying she “unequivocally apologized,” but decried the “problematic role of lobbyists” in politics, whether they represent AIPAC, the NRA or the fossil fuel industry.

Meanwhile, some of Omar’s Democratic colleagues have decried an apparent double standard.

They demanded Congressional Republicans condemn a recent Trump tweet where the president, tweeting about presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren, appears to make a joke about the Trail of Tears.

The renewed scrutiny of racist comments by the president was furthered after a video surfaced on NowThis News of Trump testifying to a Congressional committee in 1993. In the video, Trump speculates about whether certain casino owners have “Indian blood” based on their appearance.

Lindsey McPherson contributed to this story.

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