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 GabbardMomentum builds behind push to pass laws enshrining abortion rights Poll: Biden is only Dem candidate that beats Trump outside of margin of error Gabbard: US must not go to war with Iran MORE (D) defended fellow Democratic Rep. Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarOmar introduces bill sanctioning Brunei over anti-homosexuality law GOP launches anti-BDS discharge petition Hoyer: Dems will move quickly on anti-Israel boycott bill 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 SandersHere are the potential candidates still eyeing 2020 bids Sanders unveils education plan that would ban for-profit charter schools Warren policy ideas show signs of paying off MORE (I-Vt.), Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisHere are the potential candidates still eyeing 2020 bids Warren policy ideas show signs of paying off Hillicon Valley: Florida county that backed Trump was one of two hacked by Russians | Sandberg pushes back on calls to break up Facebook | Conservative groups ask WH to end Amazon talks over Pentagon contract MORE (D-Calif.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenHere are the potential candidates still eyeing 2020 bids Sanders unveils education plan that would ban for-profit charter schools Warren policy ideas show signs of paying off 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.