Ambassador Rhoda J. Elmi, the deputy minister of foreign affairs for Somaliland, shared a clip of comments Ilhan Omar made in Minneapolis over the weekend with a translation that Omar has since disputed.
Washington (ANN)- Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) moved to force a vote on censuring Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) on Thursday over a disputed translation of comments the Minnesota Democrat made about Somalia and Somaliland, accusing her of being a “foreign agent.”
Greene called her censure legislation to the floor as a privileged resolution, a procedural gambit that forces leadership to hold a vote within two legislative days. Leadership can either bring the resolution to the floor for a vote or motion to table it, both of which would require majority support
The House is leaving Washington Thursday and is set to reconvene on Monday. Greene said she informed leadership that she was introducing the resolution but did not get an indication of how they would act on it.
In addition to being formally censured, Greene’s resolution would remove Omar from the Budget Committee and Education the Workforce Committee.
“I would love to expel her; I think she should be deported, I honestly do,” Greene told reporters after she moved to force a vote on the censure measure.
“Any person that’s been elected to represent the United States government that admits in a speech in public that’s on video — it wasn’t changed, she’s lying when she says that — and she says that she’s representing the interest of a foreign government in her role as the United States representative, she should be expelled and deported,” she added.
“Unfortunately I don’t think we’d have the votes for that, so that’s why I introduced a censure resolution instead.”
Only U.S. citizens can be elected to the House, and Omar is a naturalized U.S. citizen.
Omar brushed off Greene’s effort minutes before the Georgia Republican formally introduced the resolution, telling The Hill: “I have nothing to say about the insanity of that woman.” On Wednesday, she called the outcry over her comments “a manufactured crisis based on an inaccurate translation taken entirely out of context.”
“The attacks being lobbed against me are not only completely false, they are rooted in xenophobia and Islamophobia,” she said.
“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,” she later added.
The effort by Greene comes days after Omar — a Somali refugee and one of the first two Muslim women elected to Congress — made remarks that have since come under scrutiny by Republican lawmakers.
Ambassador Rhoda J. Elmi, the deputy minister of foreign affairs for Somaliland, a region along the Gulf of Aden that broke away from Somalia in 1991, shared a clip of comments Omar made in Minneapolis over the weekend with a translation that Omar has since disputed.
According to Elmi, whose translation is consistent with quotations in Greene’s resolution, Omar said the US government “will only do what Somalians in the United States 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 interests of Somalia. We Somalians must have that confidence in ourselves that we call for the shots in the US,” the ambassador’s translation of Omar’s remarks says.
“We live in the US, pay taxes in the US and have a real voice… the US is a country where one of your daughters (myself) is in congress to represent your interest… for as long as I am in the US Congress, Somalia will never be in danger, its waters (Indian Ocean) will not be stolen by Ethiopia or others… The US would not dare to support anyone against Somalia to steal our land or oceans… Sleep in conford, knowing I am here to protect the interests of Solalia from inside the US system,” the translation adds.
That translation, however, has been called into question. According to Somalia analyst and co-founder of the Heritage Institute for Policy Studies Abdirashid Hashi, Omar said: “the US government will do what we ask it to do.”
“We should have this confidence in ourselves as Somalis. We live in this country. We are taxpayers in this country. 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. So, do not lose sleep over that, O Minnesotans. The lady you sent to Congress is on this, and she is as cognizant of this interest as you are,” Hashi’s translation adds in a post on X.
House Majority Whip Tom Emmer (R-Minn.) on Wednesday called for the Ethics Committee to investigate Omar, writing in a letter to panel leaders that Omar’s recorded remarks showed her “delivering shocking remarks expressing allegiance to the interests of Somalia, the failed state and terrorist stronghold.”
“Congresswoman Omar’s remarks are unbecoming of a United States elected official and a violation of the Code of Official Conduct of the House,” he added.
Omar on Wednesday said “I categorically reject these disingenuous attempts to malign my character and question my loyalty to my home, America.”
“Since taking office, I have worked tirelessly to deliver tangible results for all constituents in my district. I am proud of my record of delivering resources and federal funds to Minnesota’s 5th district. No amount of bad faith attacks will deter me from continuing to fight for affordable healthcare, housing, education, and more for the diverse communities I serve,” she added.
House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) called Greene’s censure resolution “frivolous” and said it was “designed to inflame and castigate and further divide us.”
Rep. Steven Horsford (D-Nev.), head of the Congressional Black Caucus, dismissed Greene’s effort as a meaningless gesture from an “unserious” lawmaker.
“Marjorie Taylor Greene is not a serious member of Congress,” he said. “We’ll see whether or not she follows through; she’s not a serious person. Meanwhile, we voted to pass the child tax credit and help 49,000 families in my district with children.”