Kamala Harris: Attention surrounding Omar puts her at risk

Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisBiden weighing an early announcement of running mate: report Poll: Biden leads among millennial voters O'Rourke faces sharp backlash from left MORE (D-Calif.) defended Rep. Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarOmar: Peace only achievable when we 'apply our universal values to all nations' The Hill's Morning Report - 2020 Dems grapple with race, gender and privilege Omar fires back at Trump: 'You can't #MuslimBan us from Congress' MORE (D-Minn.) on Thursday as the freshman congresswoman endures a storm of controversy surrounding her criticism of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and Israel as well as accusations of anti-Semitism.

Harris, who is running for president in 2020, wrote in a statement obtained by HuffPost that the continued attention directed at Omar, one of the first two Muslim women to serve in Congress, puts her at risk of possible violence.

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"We all have a responsibility to speak out against anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, homophobia, transphobia, racism, and all forms of hatred and bigotry," Harris said.

"But like some of my colleagues in the Congressional Black Caucus, I am concerned that the spotlight being put on Congresswoman Omar may put her at risk," she added.

Her statement echoed that of the Congressional Black Caucus's chairwoman, Rep. Karen BassKaren Ruth BassAdvocate says Native American women more likely to be victims of violence This week: Trump set for Senate setback on emergency declaration The Hill's Morning Report - Pelosi's challenge: Getting Dems back on same page MORE (D-Calif.), who said Thursday that the attention from the media and from her fellow lawmakers, both Democrats and Republicans, was "inappropriate."

“I think it's inappropriate to just focus on one person. I absolutely do," Bass said.

Harris's fellow 2020 contender Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersWarren calls for abolishing Electoral College Biden weighing an early announcement of running mate: report Poll: Biden leads among millennial voters MORE (I-Vt.) also defended Omar on Wednesday, calling the attention surrounding the freshman congresswoman an attempt to silence legitimate criticism of Israel.

“What I fear is going on in the House now is an effort to target Congresswoman Omar as a way of stifling that debate," he said in a statement. “That's wrong.”

Omar issued an apology earlier this month after tweeting that it was "all about the Benjamins," a reference to a song lyric, after a journalist questioned why she was the subject of criticism from lawmakers who support Israel's relationship with the U.S.

She also came under fire in recent days for a tweet that questioned why she was expected to show loyalty to Israel in order to serve on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.