Kamala Harris: Attention surrounding Omar puts her at risk

Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisJaime Harrison seeks to convince Democrats he can take down Lindsey Graham Senators push foreign media to disclose if they are registered as foreign agents Warnock raises almost M in Georgia Senate race in second quarter MORE (D-Calif.) defended Rep. Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarThe Hill's Campaign Report: Colorado, Utah primary results bring upsets, intrigue Progressive lawmakers call for conditions on Israel aid Black lives and the CBC: What happens to a dream deferred? 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 BassBlack Caucus unveils next steps to combat racism Susan Rice 'humbled and honored' by rumors Biden considering her for VP The Hill's Morning Report - Officials crack down as COVID-19 cases soar 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 SandersBernie SandersThe Memo: Unhappy voters could deliver political shocks beyond Trump Democratic senator will introduce bill mandating social distancing on flights after flying on packed plane Neil Young opposes use of his music at Trump Mount Rushmore event: 'I stand in solidarity with the Lakota Sioux' 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.