Pelosi Denies ‘Rebuking’ Omar over U.S.-Taliban Comparison: ‘She Clarified, We Thanked Her’


House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) holds her weekly news conference in Washington, D.C., May 20, 2021. (Ken Cedeno/Reuters)

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) denied that House leadership rebuked Representative Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.) following a tweet in which Omar compared the U.S. and Israel to Hamas and the Taliban, in comments on CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday.

“Let me just say this: we did not rebuke” Omar, Pelosi told host Dana Bash. “We acknowledged that she made a clarification.”

When pressed by Bash, Pelosi emphasized that Omar is “a valuable member of our caucus.”

“What I’m saying is end of subject, she clarified, we thanked her, end of subject,” Pelosi added. “What happened is a reflection of the respect we have for our [caucus] member.”

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The controversy began last week after Omar wrote on Twitter, “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.”

A group of Jewish Democrats condemned Omar’s as “offensive” and “misguided,” adding that her argument “at worst reflects deep-seated prejudice.” Omar later said she was “in no way equating terrorist organizations with democratic countries with well-established judicial systems.”

House Democratic leadership, including Pelosi, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D., Md.), Majority Whip James Clyburn (D., S.C.), and others released their own statement on the controversy.

“Drawing false equivalencies between democracies like the U.S. and Israel and groups that engage in terrorism like Hamas and the Taliban foments prejudice and undermines progress toward a future of peace and stability for all,” the group said in a statement. “We welcome the clarification by Congresswoman Omar that there is no moral equivalency between the U.S. and Israel and Hamas and the Taliban.”

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