AP NEWS

Nancy Pelosi denies Ilhan Omar is anti-Semitic: ‘I wouldn’t even put those in the same category’

April 16, 2019

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Tuesday that neither Rep. Ilhan Omar nor the Democratic Party is anti-Semitic, following several controversies surrounding the Minnesota freshman.

“I don’t think the congresswoman is anti-Semitic. I wouldn’t even put those in the same category,” Mrs. Pelosi told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour while traveling abroad.

She also flatly rejected the anti-Semitic label Republicans have attempted to associate with her party in light of how they’ve struggled to address the numerous controversies involving Ms. Omar and accusations of anti-Semitism.

“We have no taint of that [anti-Semitism],” she said. “And just because they want to accuse somebody of that doesn’t mean that we take that bait.”

Most recently, the freshman Democrat has come under fire from conservatives for appearing to be dismissive of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks during a speech last month at the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

“CAIR was founded after 9/11 because they recognized that some people did something, and that all of us were starting to lose our civil liberties,” Ms. Omar said.

The president has since weighed in by posting a video Friday that compiled clips of the destruction from 9/11 with Ms. Omar’s comments.

“She’s got a way about her that’s very, very bad, I think, for our country. I think she’s extremely unpatriotic and extremely disrespectful to our country,” Mr. Trump told a local news station in Minnesota.

His video has prompted Democrats including several 2020 presidential candidates, members of the Congressional Black Caucus and Mrs. Pelosi herself to defend Ms. Omar, denounce the president and warn that her life is being put in danger.

However, several progressives have accused Democratic leadership of not doing enough.

Mrs. Pelosi defended herself against the criticisms by arguing she having trouble getting in touch with Ms. Omar after the controversy began.

“Until I talk to somebody, I don’t even know what was said,” she said. “I do know that what the president did was not right.”