House Speaker Nancy Pelosi rejected allegations of anti-Semitism in the Democratic Party and asserted that President Donald Trump is “bankrupt of any ideas” whenever he accuses the party of pushing an anti-Semitic agenda.
“We have no taint of that in the Democratic Party, and just because they want to accuse somebody of that doesn’t mean … that we take that bait,” Pelosi said on Tuesday in an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour in Dublin, Ireland.
Her comments come amid criticism of Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, one of the first two Muslim women members of Congress, who has made several anti-Semitic comments in recent months.
Omar came under fire after she suggested on Twitter that Republicans were attacking her at the behest of the pro-Israel lobby AIPAC. She subsequently issued a half-hearted apology before ultimately deleting the controversial tweets.
Omar later caused another uproar when, at a public event, she appeared to refer to domestic support for Israel as “allegiance to a foreign country”.
He controversial remarks led the Democrats in the House of Representatives to work on a new resolution condemning anti-Semitism. However, the resolution was watered down to include condemnation of all forms of bigotry after objections from some Democrats. The watered-down version was ultimately approved by an overwhelming majority.
Following the approval of the resolution, Trump ripped the Democrats, telling reporters that the Democratic party has become an “anti-Israel” and “anti-Jewish” party.
He later reportedly doubled down on the criticism, telling a closed-door meeting of Republican donors that “the Democrats hate Jewish people.”
Pelosi in the interview dismissed the attacks from the GOP. When Democratic members of Congress travel to meet with leaders of other countries, Pelosi said, she advises them to express the party’s concern about anti-Semitism “raising its head all over, including in our own country.”
“This is nothing new for us,” she said.
As for Omar, critics have also taken issue with the way she characterized the 9/11 attacks at an event last month, a controversy that ultimately snowballed into a video tweeted by Trump that attacked Omar for her comment and featured footage of 9/11. Omar said over the weekend that she saw an increase in death threats after the video posted.
In the interview Tuesday, Pelosi continued to express concern for the well-being of Omar, and she again criticized the President for his tweet, saying he used video of 9/11 “as a political tool.”
Pelosi said she still hasn’t spoken to Omar about her original comment.
“I haven’t had a chance to speak with her. I’m traveling, she’s traveling. But we couldn’t catch up with her. Until I talk to somebody, I don’t even know what was said,” Pelosi told CNN. “But I do know what the President did was not right.”
Trump said Monday while in Minnesota — Omar’s home state — that he had no regrets of posting the video.
“Look, she’s been very disrespectful to this country. She’s been very disrespectful, frankly, to Israel. She is somebody that doesn’t really understand, I think, life. Real life, what it’s all about,” he told KSTP news.
“It’s unfortunate. She’s got a way about her that’s very, very bad, I think, for our country. I think she’s extremely unpatriotic and extremely disrespectful to our country,” added Trump.