These are extraordinary political times by any measure. The spectacle of the press conference just held by the so-called “squad” of freshmen members of Congress to rail against the President’s latest tweets denouncing them as haters was truly a singular event, though, even in this environment.
Consider the following: There was Representative Ilhan Omar (D-MN) — best known in her short tenure in Congress for blatantly and unapologetically making perhaps the most overtly virulent anti-Semitic comments ever on record in the House of Representatives — demanding the President’s impeachment for calling her out as the hater she truly is and suggesting that if she finds so much to hate about America, perhaps she should leave it and live someplace else more suitable to her agenda.
Omar took the opportunity to lecture us on how far we as a nation have to go to live up to our American values. Ironically, though, her rant comes just a few short days after a profile on her in The Wall Street Journal by a fellow Somali refugee that exposed Rep. Omar for the bigot she truly is, explained the roots of her bigotry, and asked whether someone in whom bigotry is so ingrained can ever truly reform.
Omar obviously isn’t bothered by the criticism, though, because she didn’t even wait for the news cycle to move beyond the latest controversy before submitting a formal House resolution supporting the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel — a movement that is widely considered anti-Semitic in nature. Lest anyone misinterpret her intentions, Omar made sure that her resolution included comparisons of Israel to evil regimes such as Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. Not surprisingly, Rep. Tlaib is the co-sponsor.
Our country proudly took Omar and her family in when they were refugees, and she found here a country so great that even she could be elected to Congress. Once elected, however, she immediately began bellowing her brand of hatred for others not like her and demanding that our system change to meet her bigoted priorities. Many people took exception. She has the right in this country to be a bigot; but so, too, do other Americans have the right to hate all that she stands for, as well as the right to regret that her family chose our country, which she now wants to radically change.
Then, consider Rep. Rashida Tlaib, a self-styled “Palestinian-American” and a proponent of the racist BDS movement, who has openly and actively supported and posed for photos with members of violent anti-American terrorist organizations, including Abbas Hamideh, a vocal supporter of Hezbollah; Rasmea Odeh, a convicted terrorist lionized by the PLO leadership for the murder of two students in a Jerusalem supermarket; and many more just like them.
Rep. Tlaib is fresh off of establishing herself as the leading proponent in Congress of Holocaust revisionist history, absurdly claiming that her “Palestinian” predecessors — documented allies, active supporters, and promoters of Adolf Hitler — actually welcomed and made way for Jewish refugees from the death camps. She boasts of her solidarity with a people who cheered for Saddam and his conquest in Kuwait, while American soldiers were giving their lives to fight against him.
Given this background, it was quite a spectacle to hear Tlaib at this press conference telling all of us what it really means to be an American, what true American values are, and explaining why she, of all people, demands the President’s impeachment.
Finally, consider this “squad’s” de facto leader, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC). Her by now well-known modus operandi is to attack others with hate-filled rhetoric, spewing unsupported or demonstrably false facts and then claiming victim-hood and racism to try to fend off those who call her out. She maligns anyone who opposes anything she says or how she says it, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, as a racist, never taking responsibility for her own many missteps.
AOC has fully supported Omar and Tlaib and their bigotry, and even retweeted a post from an avowed supporter of the designated terrorist organization Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which has boasted of its terrorist killings of Americans around the world. A video released just this year shows her supporters openly chanting their hopes for the destruction of the State of Israel, and she has refused to condemn them. But she is perhaps best known, at least recently, for equating border detention facilities to Nazi concentration death camps, offending Holocaust survivors around the world and earning the condemnation of mainstream Holocaust-related organizations.
The fuss that these three hateful bigots and their friends are now raising over President Trump’s tweet calling them out for being bigots and haters is in no way a matter of principle; nor is it based on American values. Rather, it reflects the height of hypocrisy and cynicism. Over and over again since they have been in office, they have doubled down on their bigoted comments, knowing, sadly, that they have consumers for their anti-Semitism and hatred. When challenged, they claim that any criticism of them is racist, rather than an attack on the hateful message they bring. They know how to work the all-too-compliant media, and so they have their press conferences, each time getting another pass from the media on their bigotry and hatred.
Shame on the Democratic Party leadership for joining in this circus. If principle were at all at play here, the Democratic Party’s leaders would never align themselves with these bigots. They would have denounced them and ostracized them long ago. Instead, they have chosen to appease and reward them with coveted committee assignments. These are the same Party leaders who could not even bring themselves to support a resolution condemning anti-Semitism plainly and directly in response to the blatantly anti-Semitic comments made by Rep. Omar; yet now they have passed a resolution condemning the President’s tweet. It is a political circus of hypocrisy at its worst.
Rather than proposing and building a case for substantive alternative policies, today’s Democratic Party leaders appear to have no agenda other than fighting each other over who can speak out most often and loudly against the President. In their disappointment that the Mueller report debunked their collusion fantasy, they look to latch on to any new developments that they think might live up to the hopes they had for Mueller. Hence, we are told that their interpretation of the President’s tweet provides the justification they have sought since Election Day 2016, and now they’re really, really serious that the President must be impeached.
The hypocrisy surrounding this whole scenario is evident on many levels, and it’s exacerbated by the disgraceful claim by these freshmen that those who oppose them do so only because they are “women of color.” I don’t doubt for a moment that there are some for whom that is a factor. But for most who oppose this “squad” of radical legislators, it is their words, their manner, their arrogance, their hatred, and their disdain for so many of the uniquely positive features of our truly great country — the very features that led so many Americans, including our most recent arrivals, to come here. That is at the heart of the matter.
For most Americans, the message of hate preached by Omar, Tlaib, and Ocasio-Cortez is as incompatible with American values as David Duke’s white supremacist agenda. They, like Duke, have the right to participate fully in our system. Any other American, including the President, has the right to wish that they, like Mr. Duke and other purveyors of hate, would simply find someplace other than America to remake in their image.
By David Schoen/TOI
David Schoen is a civil rights and criminal defense attorney practicing in Montgomery, Alabama. He represents American victims of terrorism and is actively involved in efforts to fight BDS and other anti-Semitism.