Two conservative Republicans cricitised the House’s vote to remove Representative Ilhan Omar of Minnesota from the Foreign Affairs Committee.
When Representatives Ken Buck of Colorado and Mike Simpson of Idaho left the House floor and got into an elevator, reporter Mark Burnett overheard Mr Buck call it “stupidest vote in the world,” while Representative Mike Simpson of Idaho said the vote would turn her into a “martyr”, Roll Call reported.
Both men also agreed that the vote was in retaliation against Democrats after they voted to remove Representatives Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Paul Gosar of Arizona from their committees during the last Congress. Mr Buck and Mr Simpson asked the passengers in the elevator to not let House Republican leadership to know their thoughts on the vote.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy pushed for the vote in response to Ms Omar saying that members of Congress go out of their way to defend Israel from criticism was because “It’s all about the Benjamins baby.” He also said she compared the US military to Hamas and was dismissive of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
“We’re not removing her from other committees,” Mr McCarthy told reporters afterward. “We just do not believe, when it comes to Foreign Affairs, especially ... she shouldn’t serve there.”
The House voted on an almost exclusively party-line vote to oust Ms Omar, a Democrat, from the House Foreign Affairs Committee for her previous criticism of Israel. Only one Republican did not vote for the measure, Representative David Joyce of Ohio, who voted present. All 211 Democrats present voted against the measure.
Ms Omar, for her part, said in a floor speech that she would not be intimidated.
“I am an American, an American who was sent here by her constituents to represent them in Congress. A refugee who survived the horrors of a civil war. Someone who spent her childhood in a refugee camp,” she said. “Is anyone surprised that I am being targeted? Is anyone surprised that I am somehow deemed unworthy to speak about American foreign policy or that they see me as a powerful voice that needs to be silence.”