Hoyer: Omar's Israel comments not comparable to King's white supremacy remarks

Hoyer: Omar's Israel comments not comparable to King's white supremacy remarks
© Greg Nash

House Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerThis week: House jump-starts effort to prevent shutdown Words matter, except to Democrats, when it involves impeaching Trump Nadler: Impeachment inquiry a 'made-up term' but it's essentially 'what we are doing' MORE (D-Md.) on Wednesday dismissed comparing Rep. Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarOmar says she hopes Netanyahu not reelected Sunday shows - Guns dominate after Democratic debate Omar responds to family of 9/11 victim who called her out at anniversary ceremony MORE's (D-Minn.) controversial comments on U.S.-Israel relations to the white supremacy remarks made by Rep. Steve KingSteven (Steve) Arnold KingOcasio-Cortez rips Steve King after he shares video drinking from toilet-fountain hybrid at border Steve King says he drank from toilet at detention center Steve King jokes about China forcing Muslims to eat pork MORE (R-Iowa) earlier this year.

“I don’t make an analogy between Steve King and Congresswoman Omar,” Hoyer told reporters Wednesday. “I don’t think she’s anti-Semitic.”

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His comments came as House Democrats are drafting a resolution that would condemn anti-Semitism in response to Omar saying U.S. supporters of Israel are pushing “allegiance to a foreign country.”

Her comments sparked bipartisan backlash, with critics arguing the remarks were riddled with anti-Semitic undertones.

Hoyer said that questioning Jewish lawmakers and those who support U.S-Israel ties is problematic and needs to be formally addressed.

“This is not a new trope. Therefore it was perceived to be, correctly in my opinion, a particular danger to this kind of rhetoric, whoever said it,” he said. “So that is why this question is being raised and being dealt with and being discussed."

The Maryland Democrat said that despite the prospect of a second vote this year to address controversial comments made by the lawmaker, he doesn’t believe the chamber is laying the groundwork for all controversies to be dealt with on the floor.

“In terms of precedent, Steve King said things for 10 years and there wasn’t a resolution. Finally, it came to a point where Republicans acted, we had a resolution that spoke to that,” he said. “Let me repeat, every Democrat is against all these isms, all this hate, all this prejudice, which unfortunately the president of the United States stokes on a regular basis. Therefore it's made it more important that we respond.”

King in January questioned why the terms white supremacist and white nationalist were offensive. He made the remarks during an interview with The New York Times.

Top Republicans have called on Democratic leadership to take a harder line with Omar, with many arguing she should be named in the resolution’s text and removed from her post on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

The resolution was initially slated to come to the floor on Wednesday, but has since been delayed to allow for revisions, which are expected to include language condemning anti-Muslim bias.