McCarthy’s House of ill repute: Booting of Omar from committee is an embarrassment

With a party-line vote, the House has removed Rep. Ilhan Omar from the Foreign Affairs Committee, the latest disgrace for a chamber where Speaker Kevin McCarthy has ceded control to his party’s militant fringe.

Some will claim a political tit-for-tat, that this is just another bit of political maneuvering where Republicans are simply whacking Democrats with the same trick that the latter pulled two years ago with the removal of Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene from all her committee assignments. That lazy analysis requires one to believe that Greene and Omar are substantively equal in their transgressions, an idea that dissolves under the most cursory scrutiny.

This board does not agree with Omar’s wrongheaded characterizations of Israel’s policies and U.S. support for them, but that doesn’t disqualify her from sitting on the panel, where she has served for four years, two under former Chair Eliot Engel and two under former Chair Greg Meeks, both strong backers of Israel.

In fact, Omar sincerely heard the criticisms levied against her; even as Republicans were planning on ousting her, she signed onto a resolution recognizing Israel as a legitimate and democratic ally, learning that she can express her concerns while avoiding harmful tropes.

Compare that to Greene, who has signed onto much more open antisemitism and conspiracy-mongering about everything from 9/11 to mass shootings, and only offering tenuous apologies that rang quite hollow as she doubled down on 2020 election lies and support for Trump’s attempted coup, including comments that “we would have won” if she’d led the attack. When Greene was yanked from all committees, 11 Republicans joined the Democrats.

The hollowness of McCarthy and his caucus’ values are highlighted not just by the ridiculous removal of Omar, but the fact that they have gone the other direction with Greene, appointing her — in what seems like a bit of dark comedy — to the Homeland Security Committee. Rep. Matt Gaetz, under a cloud of investigations including for sex trafficking, now serves on the Judiciary Committee. It’s a joke, but we’re not laughing.