Washington – A digital ad campaign launched Wednesday by a Republican advocacy group calls on U.S. Rep. Dean Phillips to demand the resignation of his fellow Minnesota Democrat, U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar, from the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
“Omar’s anti-Semitism has no place on the Foreign Affairs Committee and Dean Phillips should say so,” said former Minnesota Sen. Norm Coleman. He is chairman of the board and co-founder of the D.C.-based American Action Network, which is funding what it described as a “six-figure campaign encouraging members to do the right thing after Omar’s repeated anti-Semitic remarks.”
Omar and Phillips are both freshman members of the House. Omar angered fellow Democrats and drew attacks from Republicans after a tweet and later a public comment, both in February, that many prominent Democrats and Jewish leaders criticized as raising anti-Semitic tropes. In response, the House passed a resolution broadly condemning bigotry.
Omar supported the resolution, and has denied holding anti-Semitic views. Her widely disparaged comments were both in reference to U.S. policy toward Israel.
Omar and Phillips both serve on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Republicans have called for Omar to be removed, but Democratic leadership has not done so. Phillips was also critical of Omar’s comments but has not called for her removal from the panel.
“The response we’ve gotten from Dean’s constituents about his approach has been overwhelmingly positive, and we don’t comment on political media stunts,” said Brendan Welch, a spokesman for Phillips.
Omar’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The American Action Network operates a super PAC, the Congressional Leadership Fund, that supports Republican candidates in U.S. House races. Phillips unseated a Republican incumbent in the 2018 election. The group said it would also run the Omar ads in the districts of Democratic lawmakers in New Jersey, Michigan and Virginia.
On Wednesday night in Minneapolis, a coalition of progressive groups is holding a public meeting “to support Rep. Ilhan Omar and free speech,” according to a news release advertising the event.