House Republicans introduce resolution to censure the ‘squad’
A trio of House Republicans on Monday introduced a resolution to censure and condemn Democratic Reps. Ilhan Omar (Minn.), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.), Rashida Tlaib (Mich.) and Ayanna Pressley (Mass.) for what they call “defending terrorist organizations and inciting anti-Semitic attacks across the United States.”
The resolution, introduced by Reps. Michael Waltz (R-Fla.), Jim Banks (R-Ind.) and Claudia Tenney (R-N.Y.), cites a number of incidents involving the four lawmakers, sometimes referred to as “the squad,” including the most recent controversy surrounding Omar and her comments equating war crimes committed by the U.S. and Israel to those by the Taliban and Hamas terrorist groups.
The resolution also cites the four lawmakers referring to Israel as an “apartheid state” and points to Tlaib accusing the Israeli government of “ethnic cleansing” against Palestinians.
“We cannot turn a blind eye to Members of Congress openly defending terrorist attacks by Hamas against our close ally Israel nor their dangerous rhetoric which has contributed to anti-Semitic attacks across the country,” Waltz said in a press release.
Banks sounded a similar note, saying in the release that the lawmakers “have repeatedly denigrated America and our closest ally.”
The most recent controversy involving the squad members began when Omar was questioning Secretary of State Antony Blinken during a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing last week about the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) investigations of alleged crimes by the Taliban and the U.S. in Afghanistan, in addition to the accusations against Hamas and Israel in the Gaza conflict.
Omar, in a tweet with a clip of her questioning Blinken, wrote, “We must have the same level of accountability and justice for all victims of crimes against humanity. We have seen unthinkable atrocities committed by the U.S., Hamas, Israel, Afghanistan, and the Taliban. I asked @SecBlinken where people are supposed to go for justice.”
We must have the same level of accountability and justice for all victims of crimes against humanity.
We have seen unthinkable atrocities committed by the U.S., Hamas, Israel, Afghanistan, and the Taliban.
— Rep. Ilhan Omar (@Ilhan) June 7, 2021
Omar, a Somali refugee and one of the first two Muslim women elected to Congress, has since made efforts to clarify her remarks, saying she was not equating the U.S. and Israel with terrorist organizations.
“On Monday, I asked Secretary of State Antony Blinken about … ongoing International Criminal Court investigations. To be clear: the conversation was about accountability for specific incidents regarding those ICC cases, not a moral comparison between Hamas and the Taliban and the U.S. and Israel,” she said in a statement.
In response, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and her entire leadership team last week issued a rare joint statement that sought to quell the growing controversy while adding that “drawing false equivalencies” between democracies and “groups that engage in terrorism,” citing Hamas and the Taliban, “foments prejudice and undermines progress toward a future of peace and security for all.”
On Sunday, Pelosi said House leadership “did not rebuke” Omar, and called her a “valued member” of the caucus, during an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
The censure resolution also follows a successful effort by House Democrats in February, when the chamber voted, largely along party lines, to strip Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) of her committee assignments for endorsing conspiracy theories, racist dogma and violence against Democratic politicians.
The Hill has reached out to Omar, Ocasio-Cortez, Tlaib and Pressley for comment.