Kamala Harris: Attention surrounding Omar puts her at risk

Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisBiden leads among Latino Democrats in Texas, California Overnight Health Care: Cigarette smoking rates at new low | Spread of vaping illness slowing | Dems in Congress push to block Trump abortion rule Democratic senators introduce bill to push ICE to stop 'overuse' of solitary confinement MORE (D-Calif.) defended Rep. Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarOcasio-Cortez jabs 'plutocratic' late entrants to 2020 field Krystal Ball: Billionaires panicking over Sanders candidacy Omar renews claim Stephen Miller is a 'white nationalist' amid calls for him to step down 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 BassHillicon Valley: Google buying Fitbit for .1B | US launches national security review of TikTok | Twitter shakes up fight over political ads | Dems push committee on 'revenge porn' law Democratic lawmakers call on Judiciary Committee to advance 'revenge porn' law Lawmakers come together to honor Cummings: 'One of the greats in our country's history' 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 SandersButtigieg surges ahead of Iowa caucuses Biden leads among Latino Democrats in Texas, California On The Money: Trump appeals to Supreme Court to keep tax returns from NY prosecutors | Pelosi says deal on new NAFTA 'imminent' | Mnuchin downplays shutdown threat | Trump hits Fed after Walmart boasts strong earnings 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.