Greene moves to censure Omar over Somalia remarks

Omar blasted the resolution as an attempt to smear her.

February 2, 2023: Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) speaks outside the U.S. Capitol after voting to oust Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) from the House Foreign Affairs Committee. (Philip Yabut/Shutterstock)

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) introduced a resolution on Feb. 1 to censure Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) for allegedly pledging her allegiance to Somalia in a recent speech, although the initial translation of the speech has been disputed.

The resolution, a copy of which was obtained by The Epoch Times, would also kick Ms. Omar off the House Budget Committee and the Education and Workforce Committee. She lost her seat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee last year over her history of making antisemitic remarks.

Ms. Omar delivered a speech on Jan. 27 in Minneapolis to pay tribute to a recent election in a Somali region. In the speech, she also referred to a port agreement between Ethiopia and the breakaway region of Somaliland, which would grant Ethiopia access to the sea.

Somalia is opposed to the agreement, with Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud saying it threatens Somalian sovereignty, The Associated Press reported.

Viral video of speech

Ambassador Rhoda J. Elmi, deputy minister of foreign affairs for Somaliland, shared a video of a portion of Ms. Omar’s speech, which included an apparently inaccurate English translation.

According to this translation, Ms. Omar said the U.S. government “will only do what Somalians in the U.S. tell them to do. They will do what we want and nothing else. They must follow our orders and that is how we will safeguard the interest of Somalia.

“We Somalians must have that confidence in ourselves that we call for the shots in the U.S. We live in the U.S., pay taxes in the U.S., and have a real voice. The U.S. is a country where one of your daughters is in Congress to represent your interest. For as long as I am in the U.S. Congress, Somalia will never be in danger, its waters will not be stolen by Ethiopia or others. … Sleep in comfort knowing I am here to protect the interests of Somalia from inside the U.S. system.”

Ms. Greene’s censure resolution quotes statements from this first translation.

Abdirashid Hashi is a policy analyst and the founder of the Somali-based Heritage Institute for Policy Studies.

In a post on X, Mr. Hashi said he’d received several requests for an accurate translation of Ms. Omar’s words. He shared what he described as a verbatim transcription of the speech.

“We should have this confidence in ourselves as Somalis. We live in this country. We are taxpayers in this country,” Ms. Omar said, according to Mr. Hashi’s translation. “This country is one where one of your daughters sits in Congress. While I am in Congress, no one will take Somalia’s sea. The United States will not back others to rob us.”

Omar has dismissed the criticism lobbed against her as lies and propaganda. (Shutterstock)

She went on, adding: “I would like to tell President Hassan Sheikh that we are impressed with the great work you have done. You have made it known to those living in Somalia and other places that, in spite of the many challenges we face as Somalis, we are nonetheless competent people. People who believe in their country and will not allow it to be endangered.

“Thus, I want to congratulate the Somalis in Minnesota and everywhere on how united you are. How you all stood by our president, because he needs our solidarity. Somalia belongs to all Somalis. Somalia is one. We are brothers and sisters, and our land will not be balkanized. Our lands were taken from us before, and God willing, we may one day seek them, but what we have now will not be balkanized.”

Details of censure resolution

Ms. Greene introduced her censure resolution as a privileged resolution, and therefore the House will be forced to vote on it. No date has been set for the vote.

She called Ms. Omar’s remarks, based on the initial translation, “treasonous.”

She went so far as to cite President George Washington’s 1796 farewell address upon leaving office as America’s first president: “Guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism. … Citizens, by birth or choice, of a common country, that country has a right to concentrate your affections. The name of American, which belongs to you in your national capacity, must always exalt the just pride of patriotism more than any appellation derived from local discriminations.”

Ms. Greene said that Ms. Omar’s remarks make her “a foreign agent acting on behalf of a foreign government.”

The resolution makes no mention of Ms. Omar’s past antisemitic remarks.

Introducing the resolution on the House floor, Ms. Greene said, “Censuring Rep. Ilhan Omar of Somali, I mean, Minnesota.” Whether that was inadvertent is uncertain. The Epoch Times reached out to Ms. Greene’s office to ask if the congresswoman’s slip of the tongue was on purpose.

Ms. Omar blasted the resolution as an attempt to smear her.

“The attacks being lobbed against me are not only completely false, they are rooted in xenophobia and Islamophobia. This is a manufactured controversy based on an inaccurate translation taken entirely out of context. I’m no stranger to these types of misinformation campaigns targeting Muslim elected officials,” she told The Epoch Times in a statement.

“I categorically reject these disingenuous attempts to malign my character and question my loyalty to my home, America,” she added.

“As I said [in] the video — I support a unified Somalia, which aligns with longstanding US policy favoring a one Somalia approach. My stance remains consistent with the goal of a stable and unified Somalia,” concluded Ms. Omar.


Jackson Richman | The Epoch Times