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 McConnellMcConnell protege emerges as Kentucky's next rising star Hillicon Valley: Schumer questions Army over use of TikTok | Federal court rules against random searches of travelers' phones | Groups push for election security funds in stopgap bill | Facebook's new payment feature | Disney+ launch hit by glitches McConnell, GOP leaders say they won't be watching House impeachment hearing 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 OmarSanders 'very concerned about what appears to be a coup' in Bolivia Overnight Defense: Protests at Trump's NYC Veterans Day speech | House Dems release Pentagon official's deposition transcript | Lawmakers ask Trump to rescind Erdogan invite Ilhan Omar blasts Pete King as an 'Islamophobe' after he announces retirement: 'Good riddance' 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 JeffriesHouse Democrat's Halloween display mourns passed bills that die in McConnell's 'legislative graveyard' Democrats unveil impeachment procedures Top Trump administration officials hail al-Baghdadi raid but stress need for resolve in fighting ISIS MORE (N.Y.) pointed to what he described as “hateful remarks” made by President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump faces high stakes in meeting with Erdoğan amid impeachment drama Democrats worry they don't have right candidate to beat Trump Trump threatening to fire Mulvaney: report 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 SpanbergerClub for Growth extends advertising against House Dems over impeachment NRCC campaign prank leads to suspicious package investigation Overnight Health Care: Walden won't seek reelection | Senate Dems to vote this week to overturn Trump ObamaCare moves | Largest children's migrant shelter to close | Vulnerable Republicans balk at drug pricing bill 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 EngelOvernight Defense: Protests at Trump's NYC Veterans Day speech | House Dems release Pentagon official's deposition transcript | Lawmakers ask Trump to rescind Erdogan invite Bipartisan House members call on Trump to rescind Erdoğan invitation House Democrats pull subpoena for ex-Trump national security official 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.”