Rep. Gerry Connolly (D., Va.) on Monday night came to the defense of Rep. Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.) following her apology for anti-Semitic tweets over the weekend, saying that her comments could be attributed to her being "young" and a "freshman" in Congress.
Connolly appeared on CNN's "Tonight," where he was asked by host Don Lemon whether Omar, 37, met his standard with her apology. Connolly immediately referenced Rep. Steve King (R., Iowa) and his long history of making controversial comments, including his most recent statement where he questioned why white supremacy is offensive, which led to him being stripped of his committee assignments.
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"I make a huge distinction between Omar and say somebody like Steve King, whose been around for decades. Steve King's been saying horrible, racist things for a long time," Connolly said. "Omar's a freshman. She's new here. She's young. I think she has learned a painful lesson that the words you use through whatever medium can be painful and can be hurtful and will have consequences."
"Should she lose her committee assignments?" Lemon asked Connolly.
"No, I don't think so. I think she represents a voice. She represents her community. This could be a learning experience that will actually help her become a more effective member," Connolly said.
He later accused House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R., Calif.) of being anti-Semitic for targeting liberal billionaire mega donor George Soros in a tweet last October. McCarthy said that he won't be satisfied with Omar's apology until she is stripped of her committee assignments, specifically the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
"I will say I think it's a bit much for Minority Leader McCarthy to be throwing stones from his own glass house. This is somebody who has invoked the name of George Soros in tropes that are eerily reminiscent of some of the worst anti-Semitic remarks about George Soros," said Connolly, referring to tweet that McCarthy later deleted.
After Soros was targeted with a mail bomb by a deranged supporter of President Donald Trump last October, progressives started charging that any criticism from conservatives of the liberal billionaire, who has donated tens of millions of dollars towards progressive causes, is anti-Semitic.
"We cannot allow Soros, Steyer, and Bloomberg to BUY this election! Get out and vote Republican November 6th. #MAGA," McCarthy tweeted.
Soros, Tom Steyer, and Michael Bloomberg are all billionaire mega donors for the Democratic Party. CNN reported back in October that Bloomberg had pledged $80 million on Democratic congressional candidates during the 2018 midterms. Steyer, who is known for his ongoing efforts to see impeachment proceedings begin for President Donald Trump, said earlier this year that he would be dedicating $40 million to the impeachment effort. Soros and his son, Alexander, have also poured millions of dollars into the coffers of the Democratic party. The elder Soros, who is worth over $8 billion, gave $1.35 million to a "nonpartisan" watchdog group who is hitting Trump with lawsuits, spent tens of millions of dollars on lobbying in 2018, and several other projects.
Lemon later asked why McCarthy wasn't held to the same standard as Omar, prompting Connolly to say, "Well, that's a good question… That's why I say people who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones."
"McCarthy has his own anti-Semitic problem and I think he ought to be a little more circumspect in judging others given his record," Connolly said.