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 GabbardFinancial firms facing serious hacking threat in COVID-19 era Gabbard drops defamation lawsuit against Clinton It's as if a Trump operative infiltrated the Democratic primary process MORE (D) defended fellow Democratic Rep. Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarThe Hill's Campaign Report: Colorado, Utah primary results bring upsets, intrigue Progressive lawmakers call for conditions on Israel aid Black lives and the CBC: What happens to a dream deferred? 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 SandersHickenlooper beats back progressive challenge in Colorado primary Progressive groups urge Biden to tap Warren as running mate Young Turks host says Elizabeth Warren should be Biden's VP pick MORE (I-Vt.), Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisLiberal veterans group urges Biden to name Duckworth VP GOP senators debate replacing Columbus Day with Juneteenth as a federal holiday If only woke protesters knew how close they were to meaningful police reform MORE (D-Calif.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenHouse Armed Services votes to make Pentagon rename Confederate-named bases in a year Overnight Defense: House panel votes to ban Confederate flag on all Pentagon property | DOD report says Russia working to speed US withdrawal from Afghanistan | 'Gang of Eight' to get briefing on bounties Thursday Liberal veterans group urges Biden to name Duckworth VP 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.