AP NEWS

Nancy Pelosi says Omar’s comments not intended to be anti-Semitic

March 7, 2019

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday that Democrats will expand their anti-Semitism resolution to condemn a broader scope of hate, including Islamophobia and white supremacy and it will not call out Rep. Ilhan Omar.

Mrs. Pelosi said she’s now spoken to Ms. Omar and does not believe her recent comments questioning the loyalty of those who support Israel was an expression of anti-Semitism.

“It’s up to her to explain, but I do not believe she understood the full weight of the words,” Mrs. Pelosi said.

A vote is expected later Thursday on the resolution, and no text was available yet.

But Mrs. Pelosi said it’s not a rebuke of the Minnesota freshman Democrat.

“It’s not about her. It’s about these forms of hated,” the speaker said.

She also said the resolution was not an attempt to police lawmakers’ language, and said if that was her intent she would look at President Trump.

“I’m more concerned about his policies than his personality,” Mrs. Pelosi said. “But nonetheless, if we’re cleaning up everybody’s language, we can start in the White House.”

The California Democrat and her top lieutenants had been poised to hold a vote Wednesday on a resolution focused solely on anti-Semitism.

It arose after Ms. Omar’s comments over the weekend, and was seen as a rebuke to the freshman lawmaker.

But liberal activists groups protested, as did some Democrats on Capitol Hill, complaining that they were attacking one of their own while not going after Mr. Trump or Republicans.

One of those groups, Working Families Party, fundraised off Ms. Omar’s comments Thursday, asking supporters to send them cash as a sign of support for the embattled congresswoman.

“Rep. Omar has apologized for her choice of words and committed to learning from them,” the group said, contrasting that with Mr. Trump’s comments after the 2017 Charlottesville white nationalist march.

Working Families suggested the original anti-Semitism resolution was a “trap laid by the far right.”

“That’s why we are standing with Rep. Ilhan Omar today,” the group said.