Pelosi doubles down in defense of Omar

Pelosi doubles down in defense of Omar
© Greg Nash

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiConservatives erupt in outrage against budget deal Grassley, Wyden reach deal to lower drug prices Why do Republicans keep trying to outspend Democrats in Congress? MORE (D-Calif.) doubled down on her defense of Rep. Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarWarren introduces bill to cancel student loan debt for millions Trump says Omar will help him win Minnesota Trump says 'Squad' and Dems have 'Trump Derangement Syndrome' over impeachment MORE (D-Minn.) on Friday, telling an audience at The Economic Club that the Minnesota congresswoman is not anti-Semitic.

During an interview Friday in Washington, Pelosi reiterated her belief that Omar does not hold anti-Jewish views, and maintained that her criticism of Israel had led her to espouse language that some viewed with a second meaning.

"The incident that happened with [Omar], I don't think our colleague is anti-Semitic," Pelosi said Friday.

"I think she has a different experience in the use of words, doesn't understand that some of them are fraught with meaning," Pelosi added of the freshman Democratic congresswoman who came to the U.S. as a refugee with her family in 1995.

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Her comments mirrored remarks she made a day earlier in her colleague's defense to reporters on Capitol Hill, while noting that Democrats must "remove all doubt" of their commitment to equality and against discrimination.

"I don't think that the congresswoman perhaps appreciates the full weight of how it was heard by other people, although I don't believe it was intended in an anti-Semitic way," Pelosi said Thursday. "But the fact is, if that's how it was interpreted, we have to remove all doubt."

The House this week passed a resolution originally set to condemn Omar's remarks that was broadened after Democrats faced backlash from the party's progressive base for appearing to stand with Republicans against Omar's criticism of the U.S. relationship with Israel.

Numerous Republicans refused to sign on to the anti-hatred resolution, which passed Thursday, after it was broadened from addressing just anti-Semitism and did not rebuke Omar by name.