McCarthy says Omar, Tlaib's comments on Israel worse than Steve King

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthyPelosi, leaders seek to squelch Omar controversy with rare joint statement Omar: I wasn't equating terrorist organizations with democratic countries Schumer bemoans number of Republicans who believe Trump will be reinstated: 'A glaring warning' MORE (R-Calif.) blasted House Democratic leaders for not taking disciplinary action against Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) over criticisms of Israel that critics argue are anti-Semitic.

The California Republican said the Democratic congresswomen’s comments were "more so" reprehensible than the comments made by embattled Rep. Steve KingSteven (Steve) Arnold KingPence to visit Iowa to headline event for congressman Former Steve King challenger on rural voters in GOP states: 'They hate Democrats' First Democrat announces Senate bid against Iowa's Grassley MORE (R-Iowa) earlier this year.

GOP leadership opted to strip King from his committee assignments after he questioned when the terms "white nationalist" and "white supremacist" became offensive during an interview with the New York Times.


“There’s situations in our conference where a member does something that is wrong — I think you’ve seen from my own actions that I take action about it,” McCarthy told reporters during a press conference Friday.  “I think when they stay silent, they are just as guilty.”

Tlaib and Omar, the first two Muslim women elected to Congress, have been criticized by Republicans for their support for the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement, which condemns Israel’s treatment of Palestinians. Tlaib is also the first Palestinian-American woman elected to Congress.

McCarthy said while he believes it’s possible to be critical of the Israeli government without being an anti-Semite, he feels Omar and Tlaib’s comments were over the line. He said if Democrats fail to formally reprimand their members over their comments, he plans to take strides to push for repercussions.  

“I think this will not be the end of this, and if they do not take action then I think you will see action from myself. It’s unacceptable in this country, especially when you sit back and think about and listen to what this country went through in World War II,” he continued.

“Have we not learned from the mistakes of the past? Have you not in a leadership position have a responsibility? I believe I have a responsibility with my own members and others. And I believe I took that action.”


But one Democratic leadership aide criticized McCarthy for equating King to Tlaib and Omar.

"The Minority Leader has extensive exposure on his side of the aisle. Steve King is just the tip of the iceberg. If Mr. McCarthy would like to vote on his Members’ racist, homophobic and other deeply offensive remarks on a weekly basis, then we suggest he proceed with his plan to target Ms. Omar and Ms. Tlaib," the aide said.

McCarthy said he would not specify what type of disciplinary action he will seek at this time.

“We have a responsibility to stand up, but if it is allowed to happen in the halls of Congress, it will only perpetuate the problem, and grow to something much more than we would desire it to be,” he said.

“If you cannot take action when you first hear the words of what they said then you are susceptible to supporting what they are doing.”