Former Hillary Clinton campaign official Jess McIntosh defended Rep. Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.) from charges of anti-Semitism by saying violent extremism in America is the political right’s problem.
On "CNN Newsroom" with Brooke Baldwin, McIntosh made the claim that "every single extremist murder that happened in American in 2018 was right-wing extremism," citing a study that did not find that. The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) put out a report blaming "right-wing extremism" for most extremist violence in 2018, but it also found radical Islam and other motives were present for different killers.
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McIntosh admitted Omar was "glib about stereotypes that have been used to demonize and oppress and murder minorities," but she praised her for a "really thoughtful" apology. (Omar took a shot at AIPAC again in her apology by calling them "problematic.") McIntosh said it was Republicans who are at fault.
"I tend to believe she's having these tough conversations because that's the kind of work she does regularly," McIntosh said. "Where I need to draw the line is Republicans saying she needs to be removed from positions of leadership."
McIntosh demanded Republicans be "willing to address the violent anti-Semitism" in America, with no one bringing up the innumerable statements against anti-Semitism Republicans and their party have made in recent years. Not only were Republicans silent, according to McIntosh, but President Donald Trump was causing this violence.
"This is spurred on by the president, and until the Republican Party is willing to address that real threat, they have no business weighing in on [Omar’s tweets]," she said.
The ADL’s report did not find extremists had killed in the name of Trump, or that they supported him in any notable way. The shooter at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life Synagogue, for instance, had denounced Trump for being a "globalist." The only factor connecting the vast majority of extremist killers to "the right," according to the ADL, was the fact that they professed to hate women or ethnic groups, characteristics the organization considers inherently "right-wing."
The other guest on the show, Joel Payne, was also a former Clinton campaign official. He agreed with McIntosh, going further in praising Omar and calling her a "victim."
"When you have 100-plus new members of Congress, you're going to have people who are new with new perspectives. By the way, we want new perspectives," Payne said. "We want people to change up the debate. I think where the representative was wrong here again was feeding into stereotypes. She is a victim of stereotypes herself, being a Muslim congresswoman."
"Still no excuse" Baldwin said.
"No excuse," Payne repeated, before arguing Omar and Democrats handled this smoothly. "The leadership gave her a path to redemption. They actually said in their statement she had some very real points she was bringing up about lobbyists and about things of that nature, which she talked about in her statement, so I think they bundled this up pretty nicely."
Omar's tweets were also defended by former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke.