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Pelosi: Ilhan Omar Did Not "Understand The Full Weight Of The Words She Used"
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi answered questions about the controversial anti-Semitic comments from freshman Rep. Ilhan Omar at her weekly press briefing Thursday morning.
Pelosi said "she may need to explain" what she meant but "I feel confident that her words were not based on any anti-Semitic attitude."
"She didn't have a full appreciation of how they landed on other people where these words have a history and a cultural impact that might have been unknown to her," Pelosi said about Omar.
REPORTER: Do you think that Ilhan Omar understands why her comments were problematic? And what happens if this happens again?
SPEAKER NANCY PELOSI: First of all, thank you for the question. I don't think the congresswoman is -- perhaps appreciated the full weight of how it's heard by other people. I don't believe it was intended in an anti-Semitic way.
But the fact is that's how it was interpreted. We have to remove all doubt, as we have done over and over again. We're working now on a resolution on the floor that will, again, speak out against anti-Semitism, anti-Islamophobia, anti-white supremacy and all the forms it takes, that our country has no place for this.
We voted on a resolution on anti-Semitism just recently.
When I was -- a week and a half ago or so in -- at the Munich conference and then in Brussels at the NATO meeting, in every meeting, at every level, at the highest levels, our delegation impressed upon our European allies the importance of fighting anti-Semitism in our countries.
This is well before the Ilhan statement that emerged this weekend.
But when it did, it was important for me to speak to the member first before we would proceed. She was in Africa. After I spoke to her, members had different tacks they wanted to take. Some wanted to make individual statements, some thinking we should have a resolution. I thought the resolution should enlarge the issue to anti-Semitism, anti-Islamophobia, anti-white supremacy -- and it should not mention her name, and that's what we're working on, something that is one resolution addressing all those forms of hatred and not mentioning her name. Because it's not about her. It's about these forms of hatred.
REPORTER: She hasn't apologized? Does she need to apologize?
PELOSI: She may need to explain that she did not -- It's up to her to explain. But I do not believe she understood the full weight of the words. When you're a congressman --when you are an advocate out there, as I was. I appreciate all the enthusiasm that comes into Congress. I told you that before. That was me pushing a stroller and carrying those signs. I understand how advocates come in with their enthusiasms.
But when you cross that threshold in the Congress, your words weigh much more than when you're shouting at somebody outside. And I feel confident that her words were not based on any anti-Semitic attitude. But that she didn't have a full appreciation of how they landed on other people where these words have a history and a cultural impact that might have been unknown to her.
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