House Speaker Nancy Pelosi tried on Sunday to put to rest the latest spat between congressional Democrats sparked by controversial comments from Rep. Ilhan Omar.
Pelosi downplayed a split between Democratic leadership and the progressive “Squad” over the remarks which some interpreted as equating the US with Hamas and the Taliban.
“We did not rebuke her,” Pelosi (D-Calif.) told Dana Bash on CNN’s “State of the Union.” Pelosi and 11 other House Democrats had penned a letter to Omar asking for clarification – and they “thanked her” after she issued a clarification, the speaker told Bash.
“The congresswoman, Omar, is a valued member of our caucus,” Pelosi said.
High-profile progressives like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) had stood by Omar and called out House leadership in tweets, with AOC lamenting “intentional mischaracterization” and “public targeting” of Omar from within the caucus.
Bash asked Pelosi specifically about AOC’s comments and a tweet by Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) seemingly critical of their leadership’s letter.
Bash followed up, asking “So do you want people to let it go on and just move on?”
“They can say whatever they want,” Pelosi replied. “But what I’m saying, end of subject. She clarified, we thanked her, end of subject.”
On June 7, Omar (D-Minn.) tweeted a video of her asking questions of Secretary of State Antony Blinken about International Criminal Court (ICC) investigations.
“We must have the same level of accountability and justice for all victims of crimes against humanity,” Omar wrote in the tweet that accompanied the video.
“We have seen unthinkable atrocities committed by the U.S., Hamas, Israel, Afghanistan, and the Taliban.”
Pelosi and other Democrats chided Omar for the comments, which they took to equate the US and Israel to Hamas and the Taliban and Omar later said she was not equating the four but only asking about specific ICC cases.
Some progressive members of the Democratic caucus took issue with their leadership’s letter, including Tlaib, who is one of only two female Muslims in the House with Omar.
“Freedom of speech doesn’t exist for Muslim women in Congress,” Tlaib tweeted. ”The benefit of the doubt doesn’t exist for Muslim women in Congress. House Democratic leadership should be ashamed of its relentless, exclusive tone policing of Congresswomen of color.”
AOC also tweeted her support.
“They have no concept for the danger they put her in by skipping private conversations & leaping to fueling targeted news cycles around her.”
AOC, appearing separately on “State of the Union” on Sunday reiterated that she thought Omar was “very clearly” speaking about the ICC investigations.
To assert she was equating the four “was not a generous interpretation whatsoever,” the congresswoman told Bash. Ocasio-Cortez said the “whole hubbub started with right-wing news outlets” taking the comments out of context.
“And when we feed into that, it adds legitimacy to a lot of this kind of right-wing vitriol,” Ocasio-Cortez said.
“It absolutely kind of increases that target. And as someone who has experienced that, it’s very difficult to communicate the scale and how dangerous that is.”
But, AOC echoed Pelosi to say the caucus was “putting this behind us and I believe that we will ultimately come together as a caucus.”