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Democrats have been falling over themselves to try and defend Rep. Ilhan Omar’s (D-MN) anti-Semitism, but House Minority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC) might have just taken the cake.
Clyburn, in an interview with the Hill’s Mike Ellis, basically told descendants of Holocaust survivors and those who were put in Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Japanese internment camps to “check their privilege” (h/t Seth Mandel).
The Hill described Clyburn’s comments thusly:
Clyburn came to Omar’s defense Wednesday, lamenting that many of the media reports surrounding the recent controversy have omitted mentioning that Omar, who was born in Somalia, had to flee the country to escape violence and spent four years in a Kenyan refugee camp before coming to the United States.
Her experience, Clyburn argued, is much more empirical — and powerful — than that of people who are generations removed from the Holocaust, Japanese internment camps during World War II and the other violent episodes that have marked history.
In case one suspects this is an uncharitable paraphrase, here’s what Clyburn said right after:
“I’m serious about that. There are people who tell me, ‘Well, my parents are Holocaust survivors.’ ‘My parents did this.’ It’s more personal with her,” Clyburn said. “I’ve talked to her, and I can tell you she is living through a lot of pain.”
But Clyburn wasn’t done. The Hill reports that Clyburn claimed to have a special appreciation for Omar’s experience after talking with Rep. Norman Mineta (D-CA), who was in an internment camp during World War II. Basically, he has a formerly interned friend, so he totally can’t be a bigot.
Further, Clyburn suggested Omar is the real victim in all this and that he would try to target a digital billboard in Pennsylvania he claimed is racist.
“She won’t be targeted. We’re going to target those people who had her picture on the Twin Towers,” Clyburn told the Hill. “This resolution is going to be inclusive; it’s going to be expansive; and I might just try to add something to deal with that billboard that’s up in Pennsylvania this morning calling John Lewis and other members of the Congressional Black Caucus racists.”
So, Omar won’t be targeted for anti-Semitic remarks, but a random guy in Pennsylvania who put up billboards will be? The billboards take shots at “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett’s alleged hate crime hoax, and calls multiple black Democrats, including Lewis and Omar, “racists.” Another billboard says “whites have rights.” The man who put up the billboards denied he was trying to be racist, saying he was trying to start a conversation that it’s not just whites who can be racist.
“Racism is misunderstood in America and I want to have the conversation,” the man told WPXI. “We need to get over: I’m black. You’re white. You’re Hispanic. Who cares? I don’t care about that. I do care about how you act and how you stand for my flag, our flag.”
Clyburn’s comments may be the most outrageous, but he is not the only one now defending Omar and anti-Semitism. Those vying for the 2020 Democrat presidential nomination have rushed to defend Omar as well.