House majority whip walks back defense of Rep Omar

Jim Clyburn had suggested that Omar had a 'more personal' relationship to suffering than children of Holocaust survivors.


Jim Clyburn
Jim Clyburn

U.S. House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn walked back a defense of embattled Democratic colleague Ilhan Omar, saying he never meant to to diminish the legacy of the Holocaust.

Clyburn, D-S.C., was criticized by the Anti-Defamation League and some Democratic colleagues for suggesting that Omar, who has been fending off accusations of anti-Semitism, had a “more personal” relationship to suffering than the descendants of Holocaust survivors because she is a refugee from war-torn Somalia.

That prompted a rebuke from the Anti-Defamation League. “The Holocaust was a singular tragedy resulting in the death of six million Jews,” ADL said on Twitter. “It’s offensive to diminish the suffering of survivors and the continuing pain of Jews today.”

Rep.Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., said he was “disappointed,” and Republican Nikki Haley, South Carolina’s former governor, said he shouldn’t have made “one minority group’s pain more justified or personal than another’s.”

Clyburn released a statement Thursday clarifying his remarks.

“Every student of history, which I consider myself to be, recognizes the Holocaust as a unique atrocity which resulted in the deaths of six million Jews. It should never be minimized; I never have, and I never will,” he said.