What should America's role be in Venezuela? It's something Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Venezuela Envoy Elliott Abrams could not have been more at odds over at Wednesday's House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing.
Omar began her questioning of Abrams by noting his involvement in the 1980s Iran-Contra Affair. He was accused of withholding information at the time but was later pardoned by President George H. W. Bush. Given that context, Omar wondered why Americans should consider anything Abrams says as "truthful."
“If I can respond to that,” Abrams responded.
“It wasn’t a question,” Omar replied.
“It was an attack!” Abrams said.
She was unfazed and, with a smirk, continued to press him over the U.S.'s previous interventions in Latin America, such as El Salvador.
Omar noted how Abrams called U.S. policy in El Salvador a “fabulous achievement,” despite reports that U.S.-trained troops massacred 800 civilians and raped and killed a 12-year-old girl.
Abrams, not giving any credence to Omar's narrative, said that from the day Rodrigo Duterte was elected, El Salvador has been a democracy and that yes, he considers that a fabulous achievement.
Then, Omar asked an unbelievably offensive question, “Yes or no, do you think that massacre was a fabulous achievement that happened under our watch?”
“That is a ridiculous question,” Abrams fumed. “I am not going to respond to that personal attack, which is not a question.”
He also refused to answer Omar’s next question, which was no less outrageous.
“Would you support an armed faction within Venezuela that engages in war crimes, crimes against humanity, or genocide, if you believe they were serving U.S. interests as you did in Guatemala, El Salvador and Nicaragua?”
Some political analysts noted the hypocrisy in Omar's interrogation, considering she has defended Venezuelan dictator Nicolas Maduro, whose socialist policies have left the country in ruins.
A point on the @IlhanMN exchange with Elliott Abrams. She takes Maduro’s side in Venezuela, calling @jguaido a “far right” coup plotter. And she then turns around and lectures Abrams (or is it Adams?) about human rights and genocide. What a farce https://t.co/61rkAk5Z1Q— Eli Lake (@EliLake) February 14, 2019
An apologist for the murderous #MaduroRegime & serial anti-semitic tweeter has no standing to attack anyone on human rights.— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) February 14, 2019
And if #Maduro was Pro-American,Pro-Israel and/or right wing the tone of these questions would have been much different. https://t.co/VwQ22LKt7O
Others argue Omar shouldn't be sitting on the House Foreign Affairs Committee in the first place, considering her string of anti-Semitic musings. Both President Trump and Vice President Pence have suggested she at least be stripped of her seat on the panel. What the president really wants is for her to resign.
Ocasio-Cortez, who was "proud" of Omar for her anti-Semitic rants, was again impressed with her friend's behavior.
I often reflect on @AyannaPressley‘s words: “people closest to the pain should be closest to the power.”@IlhanMN is a Somali refugee. She has felt the ravages of war. Watching her question Trump’s envoy to VZ, who pled guilty to several Iran-Contra crimes, feels like justice. https://t.co/3mFv0lmAis— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) February 14, 2019