Pelosi says she did not rebuke Ilhan Omar over comments comparing Israel to Taliban: “We thanked her for clarification”

Pelosi says she did not rebuke Ilhan Omar over comments comparing Israel to Taliban: “We thanked her for clarification”
AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, File
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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is walking back her apparent rebuke of progressive Democrat and “Squad” member Rep. Ilhan Omar, who she criticized last week for comparing the United States and Israel to terrorist groups Hamas and the Taliban. Speaking to CNN’s Dana Bash on Sunday, Pelosi insisted that Omar remained a “valued” member of the Democrats. 

“We must have the same level of accountability and justice for all victims of crimes against humanity,” Omar wrote on Twitter last week. “We have seen unthinkable atrocities committed by the U.S., Hamas, Israel, Afghanistan, and the Taliban.”

Bash herself ran defence for the progressive, claiming that Omar “clarified” her remarks and that she was “in no way equating” the United States to the terrorist groups, in spite of her apparently antisemitic comparison. 

“You and other top House Democrats released a pretty rare statement rebuking her for appearing to ‘draw false equivalencies’ between the United States and Israel and terrorist organizations Hamas and Taliban,” Bash stated. “She clarified. She said that she was in no way equating them.”

“We did not rebuke her. We thanked, acknowledged that she made a clarification,” replied Pelosi.

Transcript via CNN:

DANA BASH, CNN HOST: I want to ask you about Congresswoman Ilhan Omar.

NANCY PELOSI, HOUSE SPEAKER: Yes.

BASH: You and other top House Democrats released a pretty rare statement rebuking her for appearing to — quote — “draw false equivalencies” between the United States and Israel and terrorist organizations Hamas and Taliban.

She clarified. She said that she was in no way equating them. But since all of that happened, she and others don’t seem to be letting this go. Rashida Tlaib, one of her close friends, member of your caucus, tweeted the following: “Freedom of speech don’t exist for Muslim women in Congress. The benefit of the doubt doesn’t exist for Muslim women in Congress.”

PELOSI: OK. You know what?

(CROSSTALK)

BASH: “House Democratic leadership should be ashamed.”

PELOSI: Let me just say this.

BASH: Yes.

PELOSI: We did not rebuke her. We thanked — acknowledged that she made a clarification. So, before we go too far down the path, credit…

BASH: Yes, I’m — these aren’t my words. These are your caucus members’ words.

PELOSI: No, I understand that. I understand that. No, that is a member.

BASH: Yes.

PELOSI: That’s a caucus member.

BASH: A caucus member.

PELOSI: A caucus member.

BASH: Yes. So, I just wanted to get your response to that.

PELOSI: Yes, and I will tell you — no, I’m not — I’m responding to that.

We — the — Congresswoman Omar is a valued member of our caucus. She asked her questions of the secretary of state. Nobody criticized those, about how people will be held accountable if we’re not going to the International Court of Justice. That was a very legitimate question. That was not of concern.

Members did become concerned when the tweet that was put out equated the United States with the Taliban and Hamas.

BASH: Rashida Tlaib is accusing you of policing women of color.

PELOSI: And — and — and then she clarified it. And we thanked her for clarification.

BASH: So, do you want people to just let it go and move on?

PELOSI: They can say whatever they want. But what I’m saying is end of subject. She clarified. We thanked her. End of subject. Whatever people go out and say is up to them. But what we — what happened is a reflection of the respect we have for our member when she made her questions at the hearing, but the disagreement that we have to equate the United States of America with Hamas and the Taliban.

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