New York representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez delivered a speech suggesting Minnesota representative Ilhan Omar’s removal from her committee was “targeting women of color.”
On Thursday, the House passed a resolution removing Omar from the Foreign Affairs Committee. House Republicans asserted the Minnesota representative’s previous statements regarding Israel and other “antisemitic” remarks deemed her unfit to serve on the committee.
“Don’t tell me this is a condemnation of antisemitic remarks when you have a member of the Republican caucus who has talked about ‘Jewish space lasers’ and an entire amount of tropes,” Ocasio-Cortez said, referring to Georgia representative Marjorie Taylor Greene. “And also elevated her to some of the highest committee assignments in this body.”
“This is about targeting women of color in the United States of America!” the New York representative declared.
If Congress-people like AOC had any self-awareness, they'd be upset at how cringe they came off. pic.twitter.com/CUyWiyrtET
— Malcolm Fle✘ – 🇺🇸Amoral Mercenary🇺🇸 (@Malcolm_fleX48) February 2, 2023
The New York representative concluded she had not received an apology when “[her] life was threatened.”
“I had a member of the Republican Caucus threaten my life and you all, the Republican Caucus rewarded him with prestigious committee assignments in this Congress,” she said in an apparent reference to a 2021 video Rep. Paul Gosar, a Republican, tweeted wherein his face is superimposed over an anime character that attacks another figure with Ocasio-Cortez’s face. (The video was subsequently deleted.)
Missouri representative Cori Bush is seen in the background nodding in agreement as Ocasio-Cortez delivered her speech.
Omar’s removal follows Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy’s decision to remove Californian representatives Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell from the House Intelligence Committee. Critics suggested McCarthy’s decision to remove the California representatives was “politicized.”
“I cannot put partisan loyalty ahead of national security, and I cannot simply recognize years of service as the sole criteria for membership on this essential committee. Integrity Matters More,” McCarthy previously said of his decision to remove Schiff and Swalwell from the House Intelligence Committee.
House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries said the removal of Schiff and Swalwell suggested a “double standard” which “risks undermining the spirit of bipartisan cooperation” in Congress.
“My leadership and voice will not be diminished if I am not on this committee for one term. My voice will get louder and stronger,” Omar said of her removal. “So take your vote or not – I am here to stay, and I am here to be a voice against harms around the world and advocate for a better world.”
The removal of Schiff and Swalwell did not require a majority vote because the sitting Speaker of the House has authority over which representatives serve on the House Intelligence Committee.
However, other committee panels are appointed by Democratic and Republican party leaders and member removal requires a majority vote from the House.
Greene did not explicitly claim the existence of “Jewish space lasers,” but rather questioned if Californian wildfires could have been caused by lasers in space connected to Pacific Gas and Electric Company in a 2018 Facebook post. The post included a reference to the Vice Chairman of Rothschild Inc. which likely sparked accusations that Greene was lodging unfounded claims involving Jewish people.