At almost the same moment that Vice President Mike Pence was calling for Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) to be removed from the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Omar tangled Wednesday with the Trump Administration’s special envoy on Venezuela, bringing up a guilty plea made by Elliot Abrams in 1991 for misleading the Congress about details of the Iran-Contra affair.
“I fail to understand why members of this committee or the American people should find any testimony that you give today to be truthful,” Omar said to a somewhat stunned Abrams, who was testifying at a House hearing on the situation in Venezuela.
When Abrams demanded the chance to respond, Omar said, “That was a not a question,” as she and Abrams talked over each other.
“It is not right,” Abrams said, visibly irritated by Omar’s verbal broadside. “Members of this committee can’t attack a witness who is not permitted to reply.”
In the plea, Abrams acknowledged that he was aware of contacts made by Reagan National Security Council staffer Lt. Col. Oliver North with people supplying the Contra rebels, a U.S. backed group in Nicaragua, but faced with an indictment, Abrams admitted that he misled two different House committees about information linked to the scandal which enveloped the Reagan Administration between 1986 and 1988.
The exchange in the House Foreign Affairs hearing came a day after President Donald Trump had condemned her tweets from earlier in the week, which drew a sharp rebuke from Democrats and Republicans in the Congress.
“Congresswoman Omar, it’s terrible what she said and I think she should either resign from Congress or she should certainly resign from the House Foreign Affairs Committee,” the President told reporters on Tuesday.
When one reporter, Manu Raju of CNN, tried to ask the Minnesota Democrat on Wednesday about the President’s comment, Omar was not pleased.
From across the Atlantic in Europe, Vice President Mike Pence used an interview with NBC reporter Andrea Mitchell to make the case against Omar as well.
“At minimum, Democratic leaders should remove her from the House Foreign Affairs Committee,” the Vice President said, as his office tweeted out video of the interview.
As for the President’s verbal rebuke, Omar responded on Twitter with a jab of her own.
“You have trafficked in hate your whole life — against Jews, Muslims, Indigenous, immigrants, black people and more,” Omar said. “I learned from people impacted by my words. When will you?”