Ilhan Omar sees support from the GOP to keep his foreign affairs seat

(Bloomberg) — Democrat Ilhan Omar has expressed confidence she will keep her seat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, saying allegations of anti-Semitism are part of efforts by political enemies to smear her.

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“To imply that I knowingly said these things, when people read my comments to make it seem like I had something against Jewish communities, is so wrong,” Omar said on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday.

Democrats unanimously voted in a closed meeting last week to allow Omar to remain on the committee despite allegations that she used anti-Semitic tropes in previous comments, for which she apologized.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said he would like to remove Omar, setting up a potential floor vote in the highly divided house. Republican leaders could propose the resolution to remove the Minnesota Democrat from the committee as early as Monday.

Omar said two Republicans have said publicly they won’t remove it, while others have done so privately. “To tarnish someone and his character, and his love for his country and the work they can do on a committee, is wrong,” he said.

“I wasn’t aware that there are tropes about Jews and money,” she said.

Read more: Ilhan Omar’s foreign affairs post looms as potential ground clash

Rep. Adam Schiff, a California Democrat who is Jewish, backed Omar during a joint appearance on CNN, calling the argument that he is anti-Semitic “an excuse” driven by McCarthy’s reliance on “extreme members” of his caucus. He mentioned former President Donald Trump’s dinner with a white nationalist last year at his Florida home.

McCarthy last week said he was barring Schiff and another California Democrat, Eric Swalwell, from serving on the House Intelligence Committee, keeping a long-standing promise.

Read more: McCarthy bars two Democrats from rejoining intelligence group

Schiff last week called the decision “little political revenge” for probing Trump. Schiff was the chief executive officer in the former president’s first impeachment trial, and McCarthy said Schiff lied when he served as panel chairman, which Schiff denies.

Swalwell, also appearing on CNN on Sunday, said McCarthy is “weaponizing his ability to commit this political abuse because he perceives me, just like Mr. Schiff and Ms. Omar, as an effective political opponent.”

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