Jones (D) Deflects on Omar’s Anti-Semitism: We Should Be ‘Moving On’ to Talk About Other Issues

• March 7, 2019 11:35 pm


Sen. Doug Jones (D., Ala.) on Thursday night appeared to shrug off freshman Rep. Ilhan Omar's (D., Minn.) anti-Semitism by saying members of Congress need to move on and talk about other issues.

Jones appeared on CNN's "Cuomo Prime Time," where he was asked by host Chris Cuomo to weigh in on the House resolution that passed with a vote of 407-23 earlier in the evening to condemn hate on all sides. The vote was initially going to be earlier in the week to condemn Omar's anti-Semitism, but Democrats split on the resolution, with some defending Omar and believing she was being unfairly singled out.

"How did something that started off as simple as, ‘Don't go bashing Jews here, we're going to call that out, we're not about that in this party, we're not about this in this Congress,' get so complicated?" Cuomo asked.

Jones immediately blamed both media and social media for Omar's anti-Semitism becoming an issue, prompting Cuomo to ask how the media was at fault.

"Well, because we're talking about it now instead of moving on and talking about the races and talking about the issues," Jones said. "We talked about our tornados, but we're not talking about health care. We're not talking about jobs. We're not talking about the economy. We're not talking about trying to expand Medicaid in the state of Alabama, and we're talking about an issue that got a lot of attention, and now it's done, it needs to move over."

"People call out hate. They call it out all the time. I don't know if it took a resolution to try to get past that. I don't think it should have necessarily and I'm not sure if it matters whether it's unanimous or not," Jones continued. "Our Constitution was not set up—our government was not set up to have a unanimous government all the time. We have differences of opinion."

Cuomo concluded the segment by saying, "But when you can't have an unanimous vote on decrying intolerance, that speaks to a real problem with the system."

Earlier this month, Omar apologized for anti-Semitic tweets, some of which were quietly deleted last week. She also apologized for a past tweet where she accused Israel of hypnotizing the world and performing evil acts.

There has been pressure from House Republicans and President Donald Trump to strip Omar of her House Foreign Affairs Committee seat, but Rep. Eliot Engel (D., N.Y.), the chairman of the committee, rejected the call and said he doesn't have the power to do it. Engel did say her latest statements constituted an "anti-Semitic slur."