Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) and Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) on Sunday went after House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) again over his attempts to keep the three Democrats off House committees. (You can watch the Democrats’ appearance on CNN below.)
The three appeared on CNN’s “State of the Union” to discuss McCarthy, who blocked Schiff and Swalwell from Intelligence Committee seats last week. While McCarthy has claimed specious security reasons for not allowing the two on the committee, the move was obviously in retaliation for Democrats’ removal of Reps. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) and Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) from committee assignments in 2021.
Swalwell, who was linked to — but not accused of wrongdoing with — an alleged Chinese intelligence operative, remarked that there’s “nothing there” and ripped McCarthy during the interview with Dana Bash on Sunday.
“This is some Bakersfield B.S.,” Swalwell said, referring to the McCarthy’s home area in California. “It’s Kevin McCarthy, weaponizing his ability to commit this political abuse because he perceives me, just like Mr. Schiff and Ms. Omar, as an effective political opponent.”
McCarthy has also promised to bar Omar, who has been subjected to Republican claims that she’s antisemitic, from the Foreign Affairs Committee. While he can singlehandedly deny individuals seats on the Intelligence Committee, McCarthy would likely need a House vote to keep Omar off Foreign Affairs.
Omar, who made clear that she apologized for past comments, told HuffPost earlier this month that she doesn’t think McCarthy has a reason to remove her from committees apart from her being Muslim.
Omar, during the interview with Bash, referred to Republican comments about Somali refugees, about Muslims and about herself.
“These people are OK with Islamophobia, they’re OK with trafficking in their own ways in antisemitism, they are not OK with having a Muslim have a voice on that committee,” Omar said of Republicans.
Omar, who has been the subject of heavy Islamophobic attacks from Republicans, posted — and later apologized for — an “all about the Benjamins” tweet in reference to Republicans’ support of Israel in 2019.
Bash later asked Schiff, who is Jewish, whether Omar’s past remarks “rise to the level of antisemitism.” The California Democrat referred to the claims as a “pretext.”
Schiff noted that former President Donald Trump has dined with white nationalists and antisemites. He added that Greene, who has spoken at white nationalist rallies, and others who have made racist remarks have been allowed on committees by McCarthy.
“This is — as my colleague said, Bakersfield B.S. — this is all pretextual and I don’t accept the premise that this has anything to do with the conduct of any of the Democratic members,” Schiff said.
“This is merely the weakness of Kevin McCarthy’s speakership that he’s so reliant on these extreme members.”