The campaign arm of the House Republicans in Congress has removed a Florida GOP candidate from the party's "Young Guns" program after he suggested that Minnesota U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar and possibly other Democrats "should hang" as traitors.

The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) took action Wednesday against George Buck, a Republican running for Congress in St. Petersburg, after his campaign sent out a fundĀ­raising e-mail repeating an unfounded conspiracy theory that Omar secretly works for the country of Qatar and shares information with Iran.

"We should hang these traitors where they stand," Buck said in a signed e-mail which also mentioned House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats in Congress.

Omar has denied the spy allegation, which was included recently in an uncorroborated Jerusalem Post report widely circulated in far-right social media in the U.S. The same report was cited a week ago by Danielle Stella, a first-time candidate in Minnesota's Fifth Congressional District. Stella, running as a Republican, was banned from Twitter for also suggesting that Omar "should be tried for #treason and hanged."

The NRCC is chaired by Minnesota U.S. Rep. Tom Emmer, though the decision to remove Buck from the "Young Guns" was made by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California. An NRCC spokesman said in an e-mail Wednesday that "Leader Kevin McCarthy made the decision to remove him and Chairman Emmer agrees."

The NRCC's "Young Guns" program flags candidates in competitive races who "met the minimum threshold in campaign organization and show potential to achieve greater status in the program as the cycle progresses," according to the party's website.

The move to drop Buck came after House Democrats accused the NRCC of doing little or nothing to discourage threats against Omar and other conservative targets.

Omar retweeted a tweet on Wednesday by Michigan Democrat Rashida Tlaib, who also was mentioned in Buck's e-mail. "The fact that those who make these violent threats very publicly without hesitation reaffirms just how much white supremacy has spread within the @NRCC," Tlaib wrote. "They are raising money on a call to hang a Black Muslim member of Congress and too many are silent."

Buck told the Tampa Bay Times Tuesday that he did not write the fundraising pitch, which he attributed to an unnamed campaign manager.

Staff Report