MSNBC host Ari Melber admitted Thursday the inconvenient truth about Rep. Ilhan Omar’s removal from the House Foreign Affairs Committee: Democrats set the precedent.
Democrats voiced their outrage with Omar’s removal after Thursday’s vote, which broke down along party lines. They accused Republicans of targeting Omar because she is Muslim and African.
But the truth is more complicated than that. As Melber pointed out, former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi lorded over the process that resulted in two Republicans — Reps. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) and Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) — being stripped of their committee assignments two years go. And, as House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has explained, Omar was only removed from the Foreign Affairs Committee.
“Speaker Pelosi did boot people off the committee. That is where it started,” Melber said on his show. “You can say for better reasons, but once you go down the road of saying you’re going to police committees this way, I do think it gets to really difficult tradeoffs.”
Surprisingly, Melber expressed agreement with both sides of the issue, first noting that Omar is guilty of making anti-Semitic statements, while also toeing the Democratic line that she is being targeted for her looks.
But, in the end, Melber reiterated that Democrats established this standard.
“The third thing can be true — and this is where you know you might lose some people — but the third thing that can be true is: It was the Democrats who erected a new standard in the last Congress to boot people off a committee,” he said. “Different reasons, but the third thing is true.”
Indeed, prior to Omar’s removal from the Foreign Affairs Committee, some Democrats expressed regret that their party ignored institutional norms and set a new precedent in 2021 when Greene and Gosar were stripped of their committee assignments.
Still, McCarthy said Thursday that he will organize a bipartisan group of lawmakers to codify a new code of conduct for lawmakers after members of both parties expressed concerned about removing members from committees.
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