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 HoyerThe Hill's Morning Report - A raucous debate on race ends with Trump admonishment White House, Congress inch toward debt, budget deal House to test Trump's veto pen on Saudi arms sales MORE (D-Md.) on Wednesday dismissed comparing Rep. Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarBen Carson: Trump is not a racist and his comments were not racist Trump thanks 'vicious young Socialist Congresswomen' for his poll numbers House expected to vote Wednesday on Green's impeachment effort MORE's (D-Minn.) controversial comments on U.S.-Israel relations to the white supremacy remarks made by Rep. Steve KingSteven (Steve) Arnold KingYoung Turks reporter tricks Steve King into tweeting about 'A Few Good Men' villain Holocaust survivor who offered to tour Auschwitz with Ocasio-Cortez calls for her to 'be removed from Congress' Liz Cheney hits back at Ocasio-Cortez over concentration camp comments: 'This isn't model Congress' 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.