“She doesn’t understand the full weight of her words”.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi attempted on Thursday to defend recent anti-Israel remarks by Rep. Ilhan Omar, but she ended up slapping down the freshman Democrat instead.
Omar, a congresswoman from Minnesota, has been under fire from both sides of the aisle for comments about the US-Israel relationship that many critics have deemed anti-Semitic. In February, she implied that supporters of Israel have been bought. Last week, she accused American supporters of Israel of having “allegiance to a foreign country.”
Speaking at a press conference at the Capitol, Pelosi said she doesn’t believe Omar “intended” to be anti-semitic. Instead, the California Democrat said Omar just doesn’t “understand the full weight of her words”.
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Many critics of Omar did not see Pelosi’s remarks as a defense at all. Commenting on Twitter, Washington Free Beacon reporter Alex Griswold noted that not understanding isn’t much of an excuse for a “37-year-old member of Congress.”
she's a 37-year-old member of Congress https://t.co/TJe9si9eux
— Alex Griswold (@HashtagGriswold) March 7, 2019
In response to the controversy surrounding her fellow Democrat, Pelosi had hoped to pass a House resolution formally condemning anti-Semitism. However, she was blindsided by opposition from rank-and-file Democrats, according to a Wednesday Fox News report.
The intra-party division did not go unnoticed by critics. Actor James Woods took to Twitter to voice his frustration, saying Democrats “can’t find it in their soulless, vile hearts to condemn anti-Semitism.”
Oh my God, the #Democrats literally can’t agree to condemn bigotry. Six million Jews were killed by Hitler, they are targets of Muslim terrorists constantly, and @theDemocrats can’t find it in their soulless, vile hearts to condemn anti-Semitism. https://t.co/WGUCcaUy6e
— James Woods (@RealJamesWoods) March 7, 2019
The controversy further highlights the challenges Pelosi faces in controlling an ascendent left-wing of her party.
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- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, speaks to reporters at the Capitol in Washington, DC, on March 7, 2019.: Screen grab from Twitter