Liz Cheney: ‘So many anti-Semitic members of the House Democratic Caucus’

May 14, 2019 GMT

Rep. Liz Cheney, chair of the House Republican Conference, rejected demands she apologize to Rep. Rashida Tlaib, saying Tuesday that the problem isn’t GOP outrage but rather too much anti-Semitism among Democrats.

“I’m sorry that there are so many anti-Semitic members of the House Democratic Caucus,” Ms. Cheney said on the “Fox and Friends” program.

Ms. Cheney has been one of the Republicans most vocal in denouncing Ms. Tlaib for comments last week that she had a “calming feeling” about the Holocaust’s aftermath where, she said, Palestinians sacrificed part of their homeland to give Jews a safe haven. Ms. Tlaib, one of two Muslim women in Congress, is of Palestinian heritage.

Those comments have roiled Washington, with Democrats saying the GOP was stoking false outrage and Ms. Tlaib herself on Monday blaming “racist idiots” who misunderstood her. The congresswoman said a friend suggested she should “talk like a fourth grader” to speak to their level.

Ms. Cheney said Ms. Tlaib’s problem wasn’t just insensitive comments but also a misunderstanding of history.

“I think most fourth graders know what the Holocaust was, and she apparently doesn’t,” the Wyoming Republican said.

Mr. Tlaib’s original comments, in an interview with the “Skulduggery” podcast last week, have fed new fuel to an ongoing debate over Democrats’ handling of the U.S.-Israel relationship.

“There’s kind of a calming feeling I always tell folks when I think of the Holocaust, and the tragedy of the Holocaust, and the fact that it was my ancestors, Palestinians, who lost their land and some lost their lives, their livelihood, their human dignity, their existence in many ways, have been wiped out, and some people’s passports,” Ms. Tlaib told the podcast.

“I mean, just all of it was in the name of trying to create a safe haven for Jews, post-the Holocaust, post-the tragedy and the horrific persecution of Jews across the world at that time, and I love the fact that it was my ancestors that provided that, right, in many ways. But they did it in a way that took their human dignity away, right, and it was forced on them. And so when I think about a one-state, I think about the fact that, why couldn’t we do it in a better way?” She continued.

Democratic leaders say they didn’t see her remarks as problematic, and said Republicans who professed outrage needed to apologize.