There is an obvious double standard when it comes to Republicans and Democrats denouncing bigotry and hate by members of their party, Republican Congressman Lee Zeldin said on the House floor on Thursday.
The New York Republican was debating the merits of a Democratic-led resolution condemning hate, which was pushed on the House floor as a result of Democratic Congresswoman Ilhan Omar again making anti-Semitic comments.
Zeldin said Republicans would have handled the situation much differently. Firstly, Republicans would have named the member responsible in the bill and, secondly, would have removed her from her committee. While not naming Congressman Steve King specifically, this is a clear reference to how the Republican leadership responded to King’s white supremacist comments.
From Roll Call:
Jewish New Yorker, Republican Lee Zeldin, who voted “no,” argued that Omar was getting preferential treatment because she’s a Democrat. He and Omar sparred on Twitter earlier this year over earlier anti-Israel comments she made.
“If that member was a Republican, that member’s name would be in this resolution and this resolution would be all about condemning anti-Semitism and it would be done forcefully,” Zeldin said.
Zeldin also pointed out that Omar has not apologized for her most recent comments and said, unlike Speaker Nancy Pelosi, he thinks Omar knew what she was saying was anti-Semitic.
“I don’t believe she is naïve,” he said. “I believe she knows exactly what she is doing.”
Check it out:
Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY), who is a Jewish member of Congress, explains why he did not vote for the Democrats' resolution condemning hate
This is a must watchpic.twitter.com/Kocwj1WPZm
— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) March 8, 2019
As the Hill reports, the resolution passed the House chamber with a final vote of 407 to 23.
Here’s more on the bill:
The House-passed measure did not specifically mention the freshman congresswoman by name.
While critics argued Omar should have been directly named in the resolution, a number of progressives and members of key minority caucuses stood by her this week, balking at the suggestion she be singled out and calling for the language to be broadened to include the condemnation of other forms of bigotry.
The final version of the resolution “encourages all public officials to confront the reality of anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, racism, and other forms of bigotry, as well as historical struggles against them, to ensure that the United States will live up to the transcendent principles of tolerance, religious freedom, and equal protection as embodied in the Declaration of Independence and the first and 14th amendments to the Constitution.”
It also includes language condemning Japanese internment camps in World War II, the century-old Dreyfus affair in France, former President Kennedy being questioned over Catholicism and the white supremacist events in Charlottesville, Va., in 2017.
As Fox News reports, this is not the first time Zeldin, who is a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, has responded to Omar’s anti-Semitic comments:
Speaking of Omar’s apology in February, Zeldin said: “Her apology comes across as, you know, sorry not sorry from Demi Lovato. I don’t take it as a real, sincere apology.”
Zeldin then attacked “anti-Semitic” and “anti-Israel hate” that he said is “infiltrating American politics.”
“It’s infiltrating the halls of Congress. You can’t empower that. You can’t elevate it. You have to confront it and you have to crush it, or it will just continue to grow legs. We’ll see it more and more, like a cancer across our country.”
The Republican Rep. also highlighted a perceived Democrat double standard in how party members reacted to Omar’s comments and those of Steve King last month.
“Just last month, you had House Democrats tripping all over each other, running to the floor of the House of Representatives to condemn white supremacy in a resolution that named Congressman Steve King. He apologized. He was still thrown off his committee assignments.
“And now, we have those same members – many of them tripping over each other, running away from the House floor, so they don’t have to condemn anti-Semitism.”