On Tuesday at noon, the House is set to vote on who will become the next Speaker of the House. The Republican nomination currently sits with House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH), who has received public support from approximately 140 Republican members. While it is highly unlikely that any Democrats will vote for Jordan, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) caused further controversy on Monday night with a post from her political X account.
Quoting former Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) in a 2017 interview with POLITICO, before she was a member of the House, Omar posted that "Jordan was a terrorist as a legislator going back to his days in the Ohio House and Senate. A terrorist. A legislative terrorist."
The squad member added her own commentary, stating that "it should be interesting how things go after Republicans elect Jordan Speaker tomorrow. It would certainly bring more chaos in the house and electoral harm."
Yes, but YOU chose to post those words. For gods sake can you take responsibility for anything?
— BilboSwaggens (@Swaggens3Bilbo) October 17, 2023
Omar's post received over 1,500 replies in less than two hours, with many people taking issue with her characterization of Jordan as a terrorist. Some pointed out the irony of Omar using the term, especially in light of recent attacks by Hamas terrorists on Israel on October 7.
Democrats as a party have been sending mixed messages on the issue of selecting a new Speaker of the House. Despite House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) frequently denouncing "MAGA extremists" and their "extremism," every Democrat, at his urging, voted with eight Republicans to remove Kevin McCarthy as speaker earlier this month.
Ilhan Omar be like “Hamas aren’t terrorists but Jim Jordan is.” https://t.co/aN2IWYGURq
— Max (@MaxNordau) October 17, 2023
The absence of a speaker has contributed to a period of chaos in the House, with important legislative decisions, such as avoiding a government shutdown and providing aid to Israel, being delayed.
Omar's use of the term "terrorist" to describe Jordan is not the first time this has been brought up in the media. The hosts of "The View" brought up the remarks during their October 5 episode, with co-host Sunny Hostin claiming that "the thought of him being the speaker of the House I think leads to more chaos for this country." Hostin also described Jordan as having "terrorized" her during a hearing and stated that "describing him as a terrorist is exactly that."
However, Hostin was forced to read a legal note on air reminding viewers that Jordan has denied any knowledge of sexual abuse of wrestlers during his time working at Ohio State University, despite being linked to the scandal.
It is concerning that a sitting congresswoman would use such inflammatory language, especially in the current political climate. Omar has also faced criticism for her selective narratives on the war between Israel and Hamas, advocating for a ceasefire and de-escalation while also signing onto a resolution earlier on Monday demanding the same.
Invoking that term, even if it was used by the former speaker in a different setting, days after the horror of what Hamas did to Israel, is absolutely sick, diminishes the severeness of the term, and reinforces your antisemitism.
— Jerry T (@JerryTurin) October 17, 2023
As the House prepares to vote on a new Speaker, it is important for elected representatives to choose their words carefully and avoid divisive language that only serves to further polarize the country.