Gabbard defends Omar: I don't believe she intended 'to cause any offense'

Gabbard defends Omar: I don't believe she intended 'to cause any offense'
© Stefani Reynolds

Hawaii Rep. Tulsi GabbardTulsi GabbardBiden: All-white debate not representative of party, but 'you can't dictate' nominee Delaney to DNC: Open second debate stage for candidates who qualified for past events The Hill's Campaign Report: Democrats worry about diversity on next debate stage MORE (D) defended fellow Democratic Rep. Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarSanders, Omar to hit campaign trail in New Hampshire House approves two-state resolution in implicit rebuke of Trump Al Green calls for including Trump's 'racism' in impeachment articles MORE (Minn.) on Sunday, stating that she did not believe Omar's intent "was to cause any offense" when she made remarks that were widely denounced by critics as anti-Semitic.

CNN host Dana Bash pressed Gabbard at a presidential town hall Sunday evening, asking if the 2020 White House contender would label Omar's comments as anti-Semitic.

"There are people who have expressed their offense at these statements," Gabbard said.

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"I think that what Congresswoman Omar was trying to get at was a deeper issue related to our foreign policy, and I think there's an important discussion that we have to be able to have openly even though we may end up disagreeing at the end of it. We've got to be able to have that openness to have the conversation," she added.

Pressed by Bash on whether Gabbard would go as far as to call Omar's comments anti-Semitic, Gabbard responded that she didn't believe Omar intended "to cause any offense."

"I don't believe her intent was to cause any offense," she said.

Omar came under fire last week when she suggested pro-Israel groups are pushing members of Congress to have “allegiance to a foreign country.”

The House voted overwhelmingly last week to support an anti-hate resolution, sparked by Omar's comments, which "encourages all public officials to confront the reality of anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, racism, and other forms of bigotry." The resolution, which did not mention Omar by name, was originally expected to condemn anti-Semitism alone.

Other 2020 presidential candidates, including Sens. Bernie SandersBernie SandersWarren, Buttigieg fight echoes 2004 campaign, serves as warning for 2020 race Democrats battle for Hollywood's cash Sanders, Omar to hit campaign trail in New Hampshire MORE (I-Vt.), Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisBooker campaign rakes in million after Harris exits 2020 race Democrats battle for Hollywood's cash Yang expands campaign with senior hires for digital operations MORE (D-Calif.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenTrump calls Warren 'Pocahontas,' knocks wealth tax Warren, Buttigieg fight echoes 2004 campaign, serves as warning for 2020 race Democrats battle for Hollywood's cash MORE (D-Mass.) defended Omar last week, expressing concern that continued attention directed at Omar could put her at risk and hinder a larger conversation over U.S. support for Israel.