ABC News’ “The View” co-host Meghan McCain became extremely emotional and even teared up on Thursday as the co-hosts debated embattled Rep. Ilhan Omar’s “very dangerous” rhetoric that many deem anti-Semitic.
Omar is one of two Muslim women serving in Congress. She’s also the first Somali-American in Congress.
She has come under fire several times before for comments she made that were widely viewed as anti-Semitic.
Omar tweeted in 2012 that “Israel has hypnotized the world” and urged Allah to “awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel.”
Omar also faced accusations of using “anti-Semitic tropes” in February when she suggested on Twitter that money from pro-Israel lobbyists drove Republican support for — and the defense of — Israel. She later apologized for those remarks.
But Omar also fielded bipartisan backlash for perceived anti-Semitic comments she during an event in Washington, D.C., last week. She accused Jewish Americans of having an “allegiance to a foreign country.” Omar doubled down and did not apologize for that.
Progressive Democrats such as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) defended Omar early on, and some 2020 Democratic presidential contenders also excused her remarks.
Even Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) largely sidestepped the comments during a press conference on Thursday.
“I do not believe that she understood the full weight of the words,” Pelosi said in part. “And I feel confident that her words were not based on any anti-Semitic attitude, but that she didn’t have a full appreciation of how they landed on other people, where these words have a history and a cultural impact that may have been unknown to her.”
House Democrats initially planned to vote on a resolution addressing Omar’s specific remarks and condemning anti-Semitism on Wednesday. After a delay, Democrats now plan to vote on an updated resolution later on Thursday. But the resolution reportedly will condemn all forms of hate — not just anti-Semitism.
“Do we need a resolution that says that? Isn’t that a given at this point? And why are they fighting with each other when there are so many other things to worry about right now?”
McCain (pictured above right) and her co-hosts debated whether Democrats were going far enough in condemning anti-Semitism and rebuking Omar.
Co-host Joy Behar (above left) wondered, “So, do we need a resolution that says that? Isn’t that a given at this point? And why are they fighting with each other when there are so many other things to worry about right now?”
Co-host Abby Huntsman replied, “It’s sad that we even need a resolution for this, and frankly, [it’s] a bad look that we can’t even get something like that passed.”
McCain said, “This issue is a really intense one for me.” She said that anti-Semitism “shouldn’t be a Left or Right issue” and rebuked Omar for her use of “dog whistles.”
“And she, as of Saturday, hadn’t been able to [go] 15 days without saying something anti-Semitic,” McCain said. “And I think this — at this specific moment, this is a watershed moment for Democrats.”
McCain warned that “a lot of Jewish people in this country” are being asked, “Is it more important to defend party politics or is it more important to defend anti-Semitism?”
She bluntly asked her colleagues, “If what Ilhan Omar has been saying for the past few weeks were said by a white Republican male, how would you be reacting to it right now?”
Behar answered, “I object to it no matter who says it.”
“I take this very personally,” McCain added later. “But I will say that I don’t have family that is Jewish, but [former Sen.] Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.) and Hadassah Lieberman are my family. And I take the hate crimes rising in this country incredibly seriously and I think what’s happening in Europe is really scary.”
“And I’m sorry if I’m getting emotional,” McCain said as she teared up and her voice broke. “But the idea that this is politicized, I’m really not — I was very nervous to talk about this on the show because I thought it would become politicized and it really shouldn’t be. On both sides it should be called out.”
“And it is very dangerous, very dangerous,” McCain continued. “What Ilhan Omar is saying is very scary to me and is very scary a lot of people. And I don’t think you have to be Jewish to recognize that.”
But co-host Sunny Hostin argued that Omar “has apologized” for a few of her other controversial comments.
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“Now Ilhan Omar has never suggested that Israel does not have the right to exist. It seems to me that Republicans are trying to use this as a wedge issue,” Hostin said. “And this outrage is kind of crazy because I don’t think that the Republicans have moral high ground here.”
Hostin noted that her own grandfather is Jewish. She said she has “experienced firsthand in my family anti-Semitism and bigotry for being black.”
Behar told McCain, “You have to admit, Meghan, that it is disingenuous of the Republican Party to go after [Omar] … when they are backing a president who is in bed with dictators committing human rights violations all over the world.”
Hostin declared that she is “tired of the selective outrage … And I hope that we have a joint resolution from the Republicans and from the Democrats. I would be in favor of a joint resolution.”
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