House Republican explains decision to vote against anti-hate resolution

Rep. Lee ZeldinLee ZeldinBolton returns to political group after exiting administration Lobbying World New York Times editor deletes and apologizes for past 'offensive' tweets MORE (R-N.Y.) in an interview airing Sunday explained his decision to vote against a House resolution this week broadly condemning bigotry.

Zeldin, who is Jewish, said he thought the measure should have directly denounced remarks made by freshman Rep. Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarHillicon Valley: Zuckerberg to meet with lawmakers | Big tech defends efforts against online extremism | Trump attends secretive Silicon Valley fundraiser | Omar urges Twitter to take action against Trump tweet Omar asks Twitter what it's doing in response to Trump spreading 'lies that put my life at risk' Trump seeks to expand electoral map with New Mexico rally MORE (D-Minn.) that were widely criticized as anti-Semitic.

“Instead of a resolution naming names and being singularly, emphatically, unequivocally condemning anti-Semitism ... you had a resolution that kept getting diluted and watered down, filled with moral equivalency, which is dangerous," he argued during an interview with radio host John Catsimatidis on AM 970 in New York.

ADVERTISEMENT

Zeldin, who was among nearly two dozen Republicans who voted against the measure Thursday, said he felt there was a "double standard" for Democrats and Republicans. He contrasted the resolution with one earlier this year condemning white supremacy that referenced remarks by Rep. Steve KingSteven (Steve) Arnold KingOcasio-Cortez rips Steve King after he shares video drinking from toilet-fountain hybrid at border Steve King says he drank from toilet at detention center Steve King jokes about China forcing Muslims to eat pork MORE (R-Iowa), who questioned why terms such as "white supremacist" were offensive. 

"If [Omar] was a Republican, this resolution would’ve been naming names, she'd be removed from the House Foreign Affairs Committee and we would be talking about anti-Semitism solely, singularly and forcefully," Zeldin said in the interview.

The House overwhelmingly passed the anti-hate resolution in a vote of 407-23. The measure was originally expected to condemn anti-Semitism alone but was expanded to include Islamophobia and other forms of bigotry amid outcry from Omar's progressive allies and others.

Omar sparked controversy when she said, “I want to talk about the political influence in this country that says it is OK for people to push for allegiance to a foreign country.” Critics said her remarks played into anti-Semitic tropes, but her supporters argued she was being unfairly scrutinized because she is Muslim.

Omar was previously accused of anti-Semitism after she tweeted that politicians' support for Israel was "all about the Benjamins."