Freshman Rep. Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.) on Saturday boasted about her fiery exchange with U.S. special envoy to Venezuela Elliott Abrams earlier this year, saying it gave her an opportunity to speak on behalf of others who had her "lived experience" by shouting in his face.
Omar participated in a panel at the liberal Netroots Nation conference, where she said Democrats don't get an opportunity to debate the Trump administration's foreign policy because of all the distractions.
Recent Stories in Politics
"We often don't get to have a clear debate about the people he's appointing to lead in these areas as an invoice, which is why I lost my mind when Elliott Abrams came to my committee," Omar said.
The moderator then interjected to address Abrams, saying that her exchange with Abrams was around the same time when Omar falsely claimed the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC, was paying politicians to be pro-Israel.
"The way I'd interpreted it from the outside was that you were being punished not only from the other party, but even we heard from people in the Democratic party for calling attention to that," the moderator said. "That happened. It was an outcry. Where does that stand now in terms of making the space to be able to as an elected representative call out this kind of thing?"
"Well, I create my own space," said Omar. "Listen, this is the hard truth. The hard truth is that no one who has my experience collectively and all of the marginalized identities that I carry has ever set foot on the halls of Congress."
She went on to say that many of the issues that are debated in the House Foreign Affairs Committee have "sort of impacted my life in the most detrimental ways that have brought me to the United States."
"Every single person who looks like me, who has had my lived experience at some point or another has watched that committee and screamed at that TV and said, ‘ask this question,' so you know when I get the opportunity to sit there and look at this man in the face, knowing the kind of history he's had and how he has lied and was convicted because he lied to Congress."
Omar said she wasn't going to let him come into the hearing and talk about what the Trump administration was going to do in Venezuela.
"I was going to ask the questions that every single person sitting in front of that TV wanted to ask because now they get to be in that room and they get to shout in their face," Omar said.
Abrams was testifying back in February about the U.S. response to the crisis in Venezuela, which has collapsed under far-left policies that have crashed the economy and caused hyperinflation and starvation. Omar opened her questioning of Abrams by calling him "Mr. Adams" and then asked how the committee could trust his testimony based on his misdemeanor guilty pleas for withholding information from Congress over the Iran-Contra scandal during the Reagan administration.
"I fail to understand why members of this committee or the American people should find any testimony that you give today to be truthful," Omar said.
She would later ask whether he still believed the U.S. policy in El Salvador was a "fabulous achievement," referencing the Mozote massacre.
"Yes or no. Do you still think so?" she asked.
"From the day that President [José Napoleón] Duarte was elected in a free election to this day, El Salvador has been a democracy," Abrams said. "That's a fabulous achievement."
"Yes or no. Do you think that massacre was a fabulous achievement that happened under our watch?" she asked.
"That is a ridiculous question, and—no!" Abrams said.
"I will take that as a yes," Omar said.
"I'm sorry, but I am not going to respond to that kind of personal attack, which is not a question," Abrams said.