Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) fired back on Tuesday after his Democratic colleague, Rep. Sean Casten (D-IL) attacked the Texas congressman as a “racist” when he was asked by a constituent to condemn Rep. Ilhan Omar’s (D-MN) anti-Semitic remarks.
“We’ve seen this desperate and immature strategy time after time from the Democrat Party,” Crenshaw said. “The strategy is simple: when you disagree with someone during a policy debate, resort to calling your opponent a racist.”
“Rep. Casten, we’ve never met, we’ve never talked. I’ve never insulted you,” he continued. “But instead of articulating a policy position, you resort to petty name-calling, which is a good indication you can’t defend your argument with any sort of intellectual vigor. This is Congress — it’s our job to debate — but please leave you smear tactics at home next time.”
Crenshaw’s remarks were in reference to comments that Casten made earlier in October during a town hall. While meeting with voters, a constituent confronted the Democratic lawmaker about his efforts to dodge condemning Omar over her frequent use of anti-Semitic tropes.
“Six months ago in Glendale Heights I asked you a question about Ilhan Omar. You ignored the question and you spun it into a rip on the President,” the constituent said. “Now, Ilhan Omar is an anti-Semite. Your response makes me believe that you are ok with her comments, if not in agreement. So would you at least repudiate her and her fellow anti-Semites in Congress?”
Casten replied that Omar’s comments were “horribly inappropriate,” but that voting on a House resolution to condemn all forms of hatred, which was introduced in response to the Minnesota lawmaker, was “the single hardest vote” that he ever cast.
“There are people who are afraid to go to a synagogue because they’re afraid they might be shot. I’m not worried about Ilhan Omar,” Casten said. “I’m worried about attacks from that are coming down from the Right and we are far too quick to condemn hatred when it comes out of a mouth of a brown woman with a head scarf than we are to condemn when it comes out of a mouth of a white supremacist.”
He then pivoted to focus on Crenshaw, who introduced an amendment to the resolution, which Casten referred to as racist.
“The last amendment on the floor that day came from Dan Crenshaw, the new Republican, the Navy SEAL with the eye patch. He came up with an amendment to say we’re going to add a rider on this bill that says that illegals can’t vote,” Casten said. “… why are you doing that? The reason you’re doing that is because you are a racist. Because you are trying to appeal to people who will vote for you if you stand up and oppose brown people.”
“This ain’t about Ilhan Omar. Did she say some unfortunate things? You bet she did,” he continued. “But you know what? She apologized for it, we did that. And if you don’t stand up and recognize that, then that’s the problem.”
Omar, along with Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) became America’s first Muslim congresswomen, but their time in office has been mired in allegations of anti-Semitism and of anti-American sentiments.
Omar has defended her own anti-Israeli statements, such as ones invoking Allah to expose Israel’s “evil doings,” as well as ones promoting age-old anti-Semitic canards, including that Jews’ support for Israel is paid for by Jewish lawmakers and that Jewish lawmakers have a dual loyalty to both the United States and Israel.
The Israeli government blocked both Omar and Tlaib from entering the Jewish state over their avowed support of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which seeks to politically and economically starve Israel as punishment for its alleged mistreatment of Palestinians.