House vote

Max Miller breaks down Ilhan Omar removal resolution

The freshman Jewish congressman led the legislation that is set to remove Omar from the Foreign Affairs Committee today

Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Rep. Max Miller (R-OH) leaves for a break during a House Republican Steering Committee meeting at the U.S. Capitol Building.

Republicans’ years-long quest to remove Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) from the House Foreign Affairs Committee will come to a head on Thursday, when the issue will come to a full House vote. 

The measure is expected to pass. The House approved a procedural motion yesterday along party lines setting up Thursday’s vote; that procedural vote may not be reflective of the final vote tally. Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC) has said she intends to vote against removing Omar, and some Democratic critics of Omar are still publicly undecided. Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO), who previously opposed removing Omar, now plans to vote “yes,” according to The Washington Post, following promises that Republicans would make it more difficult to remove members from committees moving forward.

When the resolution on Omar comes to the floor, it won’t bear the name of House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) or other leading Republicans who’ve pushed the measure for years, but rather that of Rep. Max Miller (R-OH), a Jewish member who entered the House less than a month ago.

Omar’s “track record of her consistent rhetoric and behavior toward the Jewish people,” Miller told Jewish Insider yesterday, “are very detrimental to not only our country, but the entire world.” Given the Foreign Affairs Committee’s global profile and extensive foreign travel, “she, in essence, is an ambassador for every single American inside the United States of America,” Miller argued.

He also tied his involvement with the resolution to his own Jewish heritage, telling JI, “I’d like to know what she’s learned about the Jewish people and the strife that we’ve continued to have into this day in modern history, when we just faced a genocide in the 30s and 40s. We are continuously persecuted non-stop by individuals like her.”

“As someone who is very Jewish and very connected to the Jewish community, I cannot sit idly by,” Miller continued, “and watch someone spew this type of rhetoric who wants to sit on Foreign Affairs, and has already said nasty things about Israel, when it’s already a tenuous situation and has been in the Middle East since [Israel’s] inception.”

Omar has characterized the efforts to remove her as politically motivated and said that there “is nothing objectively true in this resolution. It’s all perceived and filled with pretext.” 

“Whatever our disagreements may be as Members of Congress, policy differences alone have not and must not be cause for eliminating someone from serving on a committee,” Omar added.

Despite his criticisms of Omar’s comments about Israel, Miller insisted that he would not, in all cases, say that opponents of the U.S.-Israel relationship should be barred from the Foreign Affairs Committee.

“Am I going to love that? Absolutely not. That’s not for me to decide,” he said. “I am going after what she said about the Jewish people in her rhetoric. If she had said, ‘I do not support Israel’ in much more professional rhetoric, then maybe it would have been more palatable to a lot more Republicans within our conference and more so the Jewish people within this country. But that’s not what she did. She targeted Jewish people.”

Miller put some distance between himself and the Republican calls for Omar’s removal that followed Democrats’ move to strip Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) and Paul Gosar (R-AZ) of their committees. “For me, this isn’t a tit-for-tat,” he said. “I don’t know everything that had taken place and all the reasons as to why Democrats moved with an unprecedented motion.”

Miller dismissed as insincere Omar’s recent claims that she had not been aware of antisemitic tropes regarding money and political influence, and called her past apologies for some of her remarks “half-hearted.”

“She continues to weaponize antisemitic rhetoric throughout her time in Congress, even after several apologies,” Miller said. “At a certain point, you apologize when you… understand the mistake that you have made. It is very clear to me that Ms. Omar has not truly understood and understands that she continues to make a very grave mistake by continuing to use antisemitic rhetoric.”

The Ohio freshman sought to contrast Omar in this sense with his “dear friend” Greene, who he noted had visited the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and apologized in 2021 in the wake of comments comparing vaccination mandates to the Holocaust. Miller told JI he was unaware that Greene had restated such comparisons weeks after that visit.

“Anyone who compares the Holocaust to any analogy is a losing argument and I would never support that,” he said. “I would have to look at her comments and make sure that’s what she actually said so I can see with my own eyes, but anyone who makes a Holocaust analogy, in my opinion, has already lost their argument… I don’t think those are permissible comments.”

While he acknowledged that “to a certain extent,” Greene’s doubling down is similar to the repeated invocation of antisemitic tropes for which he criticized Omar, “if you look at the track record of what she has established versus Ms. Greene, it is night and day,” he said. “We can nitpick about certain comments and one-off things that other members have said on both sides of the aisle — you and I could sit here until the sun comes down, until it rises in the morning.”

The former Trump White House staffer also argued that the Omar resolution is “more fair” than those that removed his GOP colleagues because it contains a provision which may allow Omar to appeal her removal.

Pressed on criticisms from both sides of the aisle that this provision is nonbinding and would likely violate House rules and procedures, Miller said, “at the end of the day, there’s very little due process within this resolution. To be very clear, however, it is 1 million times more of a due process situation” than Greene and Gosar’s removals.

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