Prominent Democrats are fighting back after being targeted for removal from House committees by Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif.
McCarthy, the GOP conference's choice to become speaker in the next Congress, promised to oust several Democrats from key House committees: namely Reps. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., current chair of the intelligence committee; Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., on the intelligence committee; and Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., on the foreign affairs committee.
McCarthy on Saturday tweeted that he would remove Omar due to her past "anti-Semitic and anti-American remarks."
Omar fired back on Monday.
"McCarthy's effort to repeatedly single me out for scorn and hatred — including threatening to strip me from my committee — does nothing to address the issues our constituents deal with," Omar said in a statement.
"What it does is gin up fear and hate against Somali-Americans and anyone who shares my identity, and further divide us along racial and ethnic lines. It is a continuation of a sustained campaign against Muslim and African voices, people his party have been trying to ban since Donald Trump first ran for office."
Removing Democrats from their committee assignments would require a vote of a majority of the House, which Republicans will control narrowly beginning in January.
Schiff, who served as the lead House manager during then-President Trump’s first impeachment trial and is a member of the Jan. 6 select committee, labeled McCarthy a "very weak leader."
Schiff said McCarthy is being manipulated by GOP lawmakers such as Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga.
"He will adhere to the wishes of the lowest common denominator," Schiff told ABC News. "And if that lowest common denominator wants to remove people from committees, that’s what they’ll do. It's going to be chaos with Republican leadership."
NBC News asked Swalwell, an impeachment manager during Trump's second impeachment trial, to respond to the Republican leader's vow.
"Talk to me if Kevin McCarthy becomes speaker," Swalwell said.
Under outgoing Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., the House in February 2021 voted along party lines to strip Greene of her committee assignments as a rebuke for espousing perceived extremist beliefs.
McCarthy has indicated that Greene will get her preferred committee assignments when the GOP is the majority, The Washington Post reported.
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