Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) defended fellow far-left Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) during an interview on Sunday with CNN’s Dana Bash, saying that Omar’s comments equating the U.S. and Israel to terrorist organizations were “absolutely mischaracterized.”
“We must have the same level of accountability and justice for all victims of crimes against humanity,” Omar wrote on Twitter last week in a post that included a video of her questioning Secretary of State Antony Blinken. “We have seen unthinkable atrocities committed by the U.S., Hamas, Israel, Afghanistan, and the Taliban.”
Bash noted how top Democrats called out Omar for her “offensive and misguided” remarks equating the U.S. and Israel to terrorist groups.
Bash then noted AOC’s response to Democrats calling out Omar. “Pretty sick & tired of the constant vilification, intentional mischaracterization, and public targeting of @IlhanMN coming from our caucus,” AOC tweeted. “They have no concept for the danger they put her in by skipping private conversations & leaping to fueling targeted news cycles around her.”
“First question is, what exactly did your fellow Democrats mischaracterize?” Bash asked. “And are you saying that they are to blame for some threats against her?”
“Well, I think, I believe that her comments were absolutely mischaracterized,” AOC claimed. “She was very clearly speaking about the ICC investigations, which name these four actors in two suits. And they name them in context of events that happened in Afghanistan with the United States and the Taliban, and in Palestine with Hamas and the government of Israel.”
“And we know that these very intense news cycles, which, by the way, started, this whole hubbub started with right-wing news outlets taking what she said out of context,” AOC claimed without evidence. “And when we feed into that, it adds legitimacy to a lot of this kind of right-wing vitriol. It absolutely kind of increases that target. And as someone who has experienced that, it’s very difficult to communicate the scale and how dangerous that is.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told Bash earlier during the broadcast that Democrats “did not rebuke” Omar for her remarks equating the U.S. and Israel to terrorist organizations. “Congresswoman Omar is a valued member of our caucus,” Pelosi said.
“She asked her questions of the secretary of state. Nobody criticized those, about how people will be held accountable if we’re not going to the International Court of Justice. That was a very legitimate question. That was not of concern,” Pelosi said. “Members did become concerned when the tweet that was put out equated the United States with the Taliban and Hamas.”
When asked if Pelosi wanted people to let Omar’s comments go, Pelosi responded, “They can say whatever they want.”
“But what I’m saying is, end of subject. She clarified. We thanked her. End of subject,” Pelosi concluded. “Whatever people go out and say is up to them. But what we — what happened is a reflection of the respect we have for our member when she made her questions at the hearing, but the disagreement that we have to equate the United States of America with Hamas and the Taliban.”