Rep. Lou Correa (D., Calif.) offered a halting defense of Rep. Ilhan Omar's (D., Minn.) latest anti-Semitism controversy, saying Tuesday it's up to her to decide "if her constituents feel that this is what they want out of her."
CNN's Alisyn Camerota recapped Omar's string of tweets and comments that have sparked an uproar since she entered office, including a tweet saying pro-Israel lawmakers are paid off by AIPAC and recently saying she's concerned about the political influence in the United States forcing "allegiance to a foreign country." Both remarks, in addition to past comments and her pro-BDS stance, have angered some of her fellow Democrats and led to calls from Republicans and Jewish organizations to remove her from the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
Asked by Camerota if he considered Omar's remarks last week to be anti-Semitic, Correa demurred.
"I can't speak for my colleague," Correa said. "She's elected by her own constituents. She has to respond to them. I respond to my constituents. My perspective is I fundraise, I do my job. I'm accountable to my constituents. I represent my constituents, and so people have different opinions as to what's going on. That's my opinion."
"I understand," Camerota said, interrupting. "But is it your opinion that those comments are offensive?"
"I wouldn't have made those comments, OK? I don't speak in that tone," Correa said. "I understand that people have different perspectives, but at the end of the day, my job is to represent my constituents, and that's what I do, day in and day out."
"And do you think she should be stripped of her committee position?" Camerota asked.
"That's not my job to strip anybody of her position," Correa said. "I think what she needs to do is continue to represent her constituents, and if her constituents feel that this is what they want out of her, she has to make that judgment."
A group of leading Jewish organizations petitioned the House of Representative's top Democrats on Monday, demanding Omar be removed from her position on the Foreign Affairs Committee
The draft resolution "acknowledges the dangerous consequences of perpetuating anti-Semitic stereotypes" and "rejects anti-Semitism as hateful expressions of intolerance that are contradictory to the values that define the people of the United States." But it does not specifically rebuke Omar.
Still, chastising her indirectly represents an uncomfortable development for Democrats who have been celebrating Omar, a Somali American immigrant, as a symbol of a historically diverse House freshman class.
Omar said she "unequivocally" apologized for her tweets last month suggesting money drives politicians to support Israel, including an infamous "It's all about the Benjamins, baby." However, it's become nearly a controversy a month for her since taking office.