Hawaii Rep. Tulsi GabbardTulsi GabbardTulsi Gabbard, Don Young introduce marijuana reform bill Booker, Gabbard to make appearances with Colbert Fox’s Kurtz defends network’s news division after DNC debate rejection MORE (D) defended fellow Democratic Rep. Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarSunday shows preview: 2020 field begins to take shape Omar’s comments have nothing to do with Israel and everything to do with Jews Democrats allow anti-Semitism to spread with their weak resolution MORE (Minn.) on Sunday, stating that she did not believe Omar’s intent “was to cause any offense” when she made remarks that were widely denounced by critics as anti-Semitic.
CNN host Dana Bash pressed Gabbard at a presidential town hall Sunday evening, asking if the 2020 White House contender would label Omar’s comments as anti-Semitic.
“There are people who have expressed their offense at these statements,” Gabbard said.
“I think that what Congresswoman Omar was trying to get at was a deeper issue related to our foreign policy, and I think there’s an important discussion that we have to be able to have openly even though we may end up disagreeing at the end of it. We’ve got to be able to have that openness to have the conversation,” she added.
Pressed by Bash on whether Gabbard would go as far as to call Omar’s comments anti-Semitic, Gabbard responded that she didn’t believe Omar intended “to cause any offense.”
“I don’t believe her intent was to cause any offense,” she said.
Omar came under fire last week when she suggested pro-Israel groups are pushing members of Congress to have “allegiance to a foreign country.”
The House voted overwhelmingly last week to support an anti-hate resolution, sparked by Omar’s comments, which “encourages all public officials to confront the reality of anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, racism, and other forms of bigotry.” The resolution, which did not mention Omar by name, was originally expected to condemn anti-Semitism alone.
Other 2020 presidential candidates, including Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersSanders pledges to support Democratic nominee in 2020 Biden holds slim lead over Sanders in Iowa: poll Sunday shows preview: 2020 field begins to take shape MORE (I-Vt.), Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisBiden holds slim lead over Sanders in Iowa: poll Sunday shows preview: 2020 field begins to take shape Warren struggles to gain traction amid Sanders surge MORE (D-Calif.) and Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenBiden holds slim lead over Sanders in Iowa: poll Sunday shows preview: 2020 field begins to take shape Warren struggles to gain traction amid Sanders surge MORE (D-Mass.) defended Omar last week, expressing concern that continued attention directed at Omar could put her at risk and hinder a larger conversation over U.S. support for Israel.