Pelosi: 'We Have No Taint' of Anti-Semitism in the Democratic Party

April 16, 2019

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) said there was "no taint" of anti-Semitism in the Democratic Party on Tuesday, in spite of repeated anti-Semitic remarks by prominent freshman Rep. Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.).

Pelosi said Omar wasn't anti-Semitic, and she criticized President Donald Trump for tweeting out a recent video splicing her remarks minimizing the September 11 terrorist attacks as "some people did something" with footage of the attacks. Pelosi, speaking with CNN's Christiane Amanpour did say she wanted the congressional delegation she is leading on an international trip to raise the issue of anti-Semitism, including with the left-wing Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn, where such viewpoints are rampant.

"When we met the leader of the opposition, Jeremy Corbyn, we said we have concerns about how the Labour Party is perceived in terms of anti-Semitism," Pelosi said.

Pelosi said Trump was "bankrupt of any ideas" before adding she didn't want to speak ill of him while overseas, in response to the notion that Democrats would be pigeon-holed as anti-Semitic by Republicans.

"We have no taint of that in the Democratic Party, and just because they want to accuse somebody of that doesn't mean that we take that bait," Pelosi said.

Omar is no backbencher. She and Pelosi have appeared together on the cover of Rolling Stone, and she's been profiled and interviewed by numerous outlets.

Despite Omar's repeated controversies, Pelosi has become more tolerant as time has gone forward. After she and Democratic leadership members called her infamous "all about the Benjamins" comments "deeply offensive" and forced her to apologize in February, Pelosi defended her in March when Omar invoked the dual loyalty canard regarding Israel supporters.

"I think she has a different experience in the use of words, and doesn't understand that some of them are fraught with meaning that didn't realize, but nonetheless that we had to address," Pelosi said.

Democrats wound up drafting a watered-down resolution condemning all forms of hate, instead of focusing on anti-Semitism in response to Omar's remarks.

Some far-left Democrats in Omar's camp have expressed frustration with Pelosi for not more forcefully defending her, but other Democrats were angered that Omar wasn't more significantly reprimanded last month.

The controversy has boosted Omar's fundraising; she raised more than $830,000 in the first quarter of 2019.