Monday was a red letter day for politics junkies. It gave us a rare chance to witness examples of two distinct, classic styles of phony-baloney political “apologies” on the same day.
Phony Apology #1: Rep. Ilhan Omar
The most straightforward style of coerced, insincere apology came courtesy of Minnesota Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar. She sent out tweets suggesting that Congress members support Israel because they’re paid by the Jewish lobby. She specifically cited AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. FYI: AIPAC is a political action committee and does not give money to any individual politicians.
(Full disclosure: I am currently in Israel, which I have visited many times. I am a great admirer of Israel, and not because anyone is paying me, Heaven knows. Israel is not only America’s best friend and ally in this dangerous part of the world, it is the only democracy in the Middle East. It’s a Jewish homeland where the religious freedom of residents of all beliefs is protected. The amazing people of this nation have literally made the desert bloom, both with crops to feed the hungry and with cutting edge technology in many fields. There was even a recent report that Israeli researchers may have made a breakthrough that will lead to curing cancer. So anti-Semitism and hatred of Israel are not only repugnant on a gut level, they’re also intellectually indefensible.)
Omar faced intense pressure from fellow Democrats to apologize, with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and others issuing a statement that read, "Congresswoman Omar's use of anti-Semitic tropes and prejudicial accusations about Israel's supporters is deeply offensive. We condemn these remarks and we call upon Congresswoman Omar to immediately apologize for these hurtful comments."
Omar apologized but in that “sorry-but-not-sorry” way that made it clear it was about as sincere as a used car salesman’s smile. Let’s unravel the spin, shall we? Her carefully-crafted statement starts out apologetically enough:
"Anti-Semitism is real and I am grateful for Jewish allies and colleagues who are educating me on the painful history of anti-Semitic tropes. My intention is never to offend my constituents or Jewish Americans as a whole.”
(Now, here comes the attempt to make herself the victim): “We have to always be willing to step back and think through criticism, just as I expect people to hear me when others attack me for my identity. This is why I unequivocally apologize."
(And then she equivocates by implying that she was really right): “Omar added she still ‘reaffirms’ what she considers a ‘problematic role of lobbyists’ in politics. She highlighted AIPAC, as well as the NRA and fossil fuel industry as particularly troubling. ‘It's gone on too long and we must be willing to address it,’ she continued.”
(And in conclusion, she’s sorry-but-not-sorry): She said she is "listening and learning, but standing strong."
So she apologizes for saying it, but she stands by it? Apparently so, because just hours after making the apology, she retweeted a thread defending her for making the original accusation:
In terms of consequences for her anti-Semitic tweeting, there will be none. Pelosi made it clear that Omar will not be removed from the House Foreign Affairs Committee and it’s time to move on (this from people who still can’t get over the 2016 election.) So, outrageous statement followed by phony apology followed by zero consequences. The Democratic Trifecta.
Interestingly enough, this comes very shortly after Republicans stripped Rep. Steve King from his committee assignments for saying some things about white supremacy that he insists were taken out of context by the New York Times. Omar’s tweets were in her own words, just like her long history of other outrageous statements, yet Democrats feigned outrage while letting her keep her committee assignments.
She did pick up one supporter who probably recognized the apology as the meaningless pablum it is. She now has the full-throated backing of former KKK grand wizard, David Duke.
Do you think we’ll hear calls from the media for Omar to lose her committee assignments, or attempts to tar her and all her colleagues and supporters with the association with the Klan, the way they did in 2016, when Donald Trump repeatedly repudiated Duke and was attacked for allegedly not doing it forcefully or often enough?
Greg Gutfeld of Fox News recently pointed out that the media always paint the entire Republican Party with the views of its most extreme members, but they never do that to Democrats. Ironically, if they ever did call the Democratic Party the party of the KKK, it would at least be historically accurate.
I suppose if Omar does get any flak for being praised by the odious racist/anti-Semite David Duke, she can always issue another meaningless apology and go on her merry way.
And just to be clear: the Democrats’ anti-Semitism problem is not limited to just one Congress member: