On Thursday afternoon, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez expressed her anger at the removal of Rep. Ilhan Omar from the Foreign Affairs Committee, bouncing up and down and pointing around like a charismatic preacher.
"Don’t tell me this is about a — a condemnation of antisemitic remarks, when you have a member of the Republican caucus who — who has talked about Jewish space lasers and, and an entire amount of tropes and also elevated her to some of the highest committee assignments in this body," Ocasio-Cortez said, gesturing wildly.
"This is about targeting women of color in the United States of America," she said, while Cori Bush nodded behind her. "Don’t tell me— because I didn’t get a single apology when my life was threatened," she concluded as her time expired, walking away from the podium and slamming her notebook against it.
Ocasio-Cortez’s "Jewish space lasers" comment was in reference to a 2018 Facebook post, in which Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene said that people had seen "lasers or blue beams of light" causing the devastating California wildfires that year. Nowhere does it mention or suggest that these supposed lasers were "Jewish" in origin.
As regards to the "threat" on AOC's life, she was referring to a period of time on January 6, 2021, when she was in her office and a Capitol Hill Police officer came to her door to check on her safety during the Capitol Hill riot. She later said she felt her life was threatened because the officer's arrival had triggered past trauma.
Omar was removed from her seat on the Foreign Affairs Committee on Thursday afternoon, in a 218 to 211 party-line vote.
In November, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said he intended to remove Omar due to her history of antisemitic comments.
Minority leader Hakeem Jeffries acknowledged this history on Thursday and said, "Rep. Omar certainly has made mistakes. She has used antisemitic tropes."
In a recent interview with CNN, Omar said, “I might have used words at the time that I didn’t understand were trafficking in antisemitism. When that was brought to my attention, I apologized. I owned up to it. That’s the kind of person that I am.”
Omar called the previous calls for her removal "politically motivated, and accused the GOP of Islamophobia."
"It is politically motivated," she said, "and in some cases motivated by the fact that many of these members don't believe a Muslim refugee, an African, should even be in Congress, let alone have the opportunity to serve on the Foreign Affairs Committee."
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