Of all the possible people in the world there are to worry about, you can take Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) off your list for now. She’s going to be OK.
The little lady went through a rough patch but came out just fine. After escaping war-torn Somalia and living in a refugee camp four years in Kenya, a little dust-up about political correctness in Washington must have seemed like a walk in the park.
Ilhan, of course, is the new Muslim Congresswoman from MN. It’s pretty easy to pick her out of a crowd. She’s the one in the hijab. If there is a photo of the Congress and there are two in hijab, the other one is probably Louie Gohmert. The Congressman from Texas…he’s capable of anything.
In any event, Ilhan sent out some tweets a while back about money in politics. She suggested that people gave money to politicians for a reason. Doing so got results. She also indicated that some of the people making contributions were of the Jewish persuasion who entertained fond hopes for Israel and those hopes were realized because of their contributions.
Well, knock me over with a feather. I don’t know where Ilhan got that crazy idea. I always thought Members of Congress did the right thing because it was the right thing…sort of like the Ladies of the Evening in Paris. They make love for love. Money? An afterthought. A mere souvenir.
Ilhan’s tweets lit up the Capitol switchboard. Feelings were hurt. People who are highly paid to express outrage at offenses real and imagined (like paid mourners at a funeral) had the long knives out. They wanted blood or, at a minimum, they wanted Ilhan kicked off the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Ilhan could make mischief there.
If truth be told Ilhan’s tweets were flippant and tone deaf especially for someone who had been in Congress all of a couple of months. There was a clear “who does she think she is” feeling amongst many Democrats. Meanwhile, Republicans sensed a gift that would keep on giving.
Nancy Pelosi knew an intervention was required. Nancy talked to people she’s known for decades, including senior Jewish members. She took the temperature of the Caucus. Nobody does it better. At a minimum, an apology was required.
Nancy called Ilhan in for a sit down: “I like you. I think your voice deserves to be heard. I put you on three excellent Committees including Foreign Affairs. You’ve embarrassed your fellow democrats needlessly. You need to apologize publicly today. It will not wait. In your apology, I want to hear these words: ‘I apologize unequivocally.’ Apologize properly and I will fight to protect you. Good luck.”
Ilhan did what she had to do. The pressure subsided. Ilbran was safe. For the time being.
As luck would have it, a couple of days after Ilbran’s public apology, Elliott Abrams was scheduled to appear as a witness before the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Abrams is Jewish and a member of what can best described as NeoCon Royalty. He has held high national security positions in Republican Administrations dating back to Reagan. Abrams is a friend and confidant of Sheldon Adelson and a columnist for Israel Hayom, the Israel based daily newspaper owned by Adelson.
Abrams is also the beneficiary of a Presidential Pardon necessitated by misdemeanor convictions for unlawfully withholding information from Congress. As Church Lady would say…”isn’t that special?”
The stage was set to see if Rep. Ilhan Omar had been humbled into meekness by her ordeal. No way Jose. The little lady was as cool as the other side of the pillow. She went after Abrams asking “why would any committee of the Congress want to hear your testimony.” Abrams was rattled, breathing hard, looking for help from the Committee Chair, Eliot Engel. None was forthcoming. Poor baby.
Good for Engel. Good for Omar.
Hang in there Rep. Ilhan Omar. You’ve figured out how to make enemies. Now, try for some friends.
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