Dem leader says party won't be lectured on anti-Semitism by McConnell

Dem leader says party won't be lectured on anti-Semitism by McConnell
© Stefani Reynolds

The chairman of the House Democratic Caucus fired back at Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellBossie, Lewandowski warned Trump he was in trouble in 2020: report FISA 'reform': Groundhog Day edition The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Major space launch today; Trump feuds with Twitter MORE (R-Ky.) on Wednesday for suggesting that some freshman Democrats were engaging in anti-Semitism.

It came as the House prepares to consider a resolution condemning anti-Semitism and hate broadly in the aftermath of Rep. Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarOmar condemns use of rubber bullets, tear gas on crowds at George Floyd protest Four Minneapolis officers involved in death of unarmed black man fired Overnight Defense: Pentagon memo warns pandemic could go until summer 2021 | Watchdog finds Taliban violence is high despite US deal | Progressive Dems demand defense cuts MORE (D-Minn.) making remarks critical of Israel.

When asked about the resolution on Tuesday, McConnell said: “Now, this is a good time for America to think again about anti-Semitism. It seems to be more fashionable in Europe, it seems to be more fashionable in this country, regretfully, among at least some members of the new class in the House.”

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In response, House Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem JeffriesHakeem Sekou JeffriesTara Reade's attorney asks Biden to authorize search of his Senate papers Tara Reade represented by well-known lawyer, Trump campaign donor Pelosi seeks to wrangle caucus behind next COVID-19 bill MORE (N.Y.) pointed to what he described as “hateful remarks” made by President TrumpDonald John TrumpJustice says it will recommend Trump veto FISA bill Fauci: Nominating conventions may be able to go on as planned Poll: Biden leads Trump by 11 points nationally MORE.

“When has he ever said anything about the hateful remarks that continue to float out of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.? When has he ever said anything about that? So, we're not going to be lectured by Mitch McConnell on anything, and that shameless behavior must be discontinued,” Jeffries told reporters.

“Let me just generally say: There is not a rise of anti-Semitism in the House of Representatives, there is a rise of anti-Semitic behavior and activity and violence in the country. And, it's irresponsible for Mitch McConnell to try to politicize this issue,” Jeffries said.

Freshman Rep. Abigail SpanbergerAbigail Davis SpanbergerThe Hill's Campaign Report: DOJ, intel to be major issues in 2020 Human Rights Campaign rolls out congressional endorsements on Equality Act anniversary The 14 Democrats who broke with their party on coronavirus relief vote MORE (D-Va.), who represents a swing district, similarly rejected McConnell's argument.

“I think a man who hasn't met any of us can't really comment on the positions of the freshman class,” Spanberger said.

“I think that it is incredibly detrimental to the cause of fighting such a scourge that someone would seek to, in fact, politically capitalize on this terrible trend and increase that we've seen throughout some of our communities,” she said.

Omar has faced criticism from fellow Democrats for saying at a forum last week that pro-Israel advocates try to accuse critics of anti-Semitism to shut down debate. 

“I want to talk about the political influence in this country that says it is OK for people to push for allegiance to a foreign country,” Omar said. “I want to ask, why is it OK for me to talk about the influence of the [National Rifle Association], of fossil-fuel industries, or Big Pharma, and not talk about a powerful lobby that is influencing policy?”

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot EngelEliot Lance EngelHouse chairman slams Pompeo for suggesting US could 'disconnect' from Australia over China deal Open Skies withdrawal throws nuclear treaty into question The Memo: Trump agenda rolls on amid pandemic MORE (D-N.Y.), who is Jewish, issued a statement accusing Omar of “invoking a vile anti-Semitic slur” of dual loyalty, calling her comments “outrageous and deeply hurtful.”