Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC) came to the defense of congresswoman Ilhan Omar Wednesday, stating she has experienced more ‘powerful’ life experiences than the children of Holocaust survivors.
Omar (D-MN) has been the subject of intense scrutiny after suggesting U.S. lawmakers are being forced to “pledge allegiance” to Israel.
That seems to have been the last straw for the rich history of anti-Semitism being spewed by Omar, which includes references to Israel as “evil,” repeated anti-Semitic tropes, and support of the BDS movement.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats who recognized her pattern of bigoted comments had planned a resolution to denounce them, only to back down when radicals within the party objected.
Clyburn leaped to Omar’s defense with what is, as of today, the wildest effort to create sympathy for the freshman congresswoman that one could imagine.
According to a report by The Hill, Clyburn lamented that “many of the media reports surrounding the recent controversy have omitted mentioning that Omar … had to flee the country to escape violence and spent four years in a Kenyan refugee camp before coming to the United States.”
This he alleges, makes her experiences more “empirical” and “powerful” than those who have parents that survived the Holocaust, Japanese internment camps, and other tragic events in history.
— Jonathan Greenberg (@JGreenbergSez) March 7, 2019
“I’m serious about that,” he insisted. “There are people who tell me, ‘Well, my parents are Holocaust survivors.’ ‘My parents did this.’ It’s more personal with her. I’ve talked to her, and I can tell you she is living through a lot of pain.”
Defending an anti-Semite by downplaying the Holocaust is peak Democrat at this point. Wow.
Wow. Would he discount descendants of slaves in the same way? https://t.co/glHN2L01Yt
— David Mastio (@DavidMastio) March 7, 2019
UPDATE: Instead of apologizing, Clyburn released a statement claiming he did not make comments trivializing the experiences of Holocaust survivors … then immediately moved on to plug his book.
We can be no more or any less than what those experiences allow us to be.
To recognize and honor the experiences of one member of our Caucus does not mean that we ignore or dishonor the experiences of another. pic.twitter.com/YdzGPFoQk6
— James E. Clyburn (@WhipClyburn) March 7, 2019
Aside from Clyburn's comments, top presidential candidates in the Democrat party have also followed suit, trying to portray Omar as the real victim here.
"What I fear is going on in the House now is an effort to target Congresswoman Omar as a way of stifling that debate," Bernie Sanders said in a statement. "That’s wrong."
Kamala Harris also tried to generate concern for the Minnesota congresswoman saying, "I am concerned that the spotlight being put on Congresswoman Omar may put her at risk."
This is straight up insane. https://t.co/RBy8t6e1xr
— Emily Zanotti (@emzanotti) March 7, 2019
President Trump responded to the opposition party's unwillingness to condemn such hateful language.
"It is shameful that House Democrats won’t take a stronger stand against anti-Semitism in their conference," he tweeted. "Anti-Semitism has fueled atrocities throughout history and it’s inconceivable they will not act to condemn it!"
What Changed for Clyburn?
Not only are they unwilling to condemn the anti-Semitism, but in the case of Clyburn, they're willing to soften the experience of Holocaust survivors to paint her as a victim.
Clyburn signed onto a statement from Pelosi just last month that specifically pointed at Omar and her remarks.
"Congresswoman Omar’s use of anti-Semitic tropes and prejudicial accusations about Israel’s supporters is deeply offensive," the statement reads. "We condemn these remarks and we call upon Congresswoman Omar to immediately apologize for these hurtful comments."
"As Democrats and as Americans, the entire Congress must be fully engaged in denouncing and rejecting all forms of hatred, racism, prejudice and discrimination wherever they are encountered."
Now, they not only are failing to denounce or reject it, but they're also vociferously defending it by saying Omar suffered more than Jews during the Holocaust.
"What the hell is wrong with House Democrats?" NRCC spokesman Michael McAdams demanded to know. "Refusing to condemn anti-Semitism is bad enough, but Clyburn trivializing the experiences of those victimized by the Holocaust is a new low."
Astounding, really. If they ever get around to introducing the resolution for Omar, Democrats might want to immediately follow it up with one denouncing Clyburn's comments.