Transcript for Are new Democrats too extreme?
Some of the newly elected Democrats are under fire right now, like Minnesota congresswoman ilhan OMAR. She's being accused of anti-semitism. Yep. For suggesting that Israeli S are buying off congress to sway policy, tweeting, it's all about the benjamins, baby, benjamins meaning money. That's why it's a problem. She ended up apologizing after she was criticized from both sides of the aisle including speaker Nancy Pelosi. So, since we need an expert for this topic, we have somebody here. Here to break down how bad this could be for Democrats is the head of ABC news political unit Rick Klein. Welcome, Rick. Thank you. Happy Valentine's day. Thank you. Sorry we took you from your wife today. This is the right place to be. I love the sweater, love the energy. We're all in red, yeah. I have red earrings. I didn't get the memo. And shoes. So how much of a problem is OMAR going to be for the Democrats really? I mean, she did apologize profusely. It seems to have been an acceptable apology. Sometimes they're not. Nancy Pelosi said okay. What happened? An unequivocal apology and I think you saw how seriously Democrats felt like they were threatened by this comment, by how fast they came out. This is a freshman member of congress. A lot of people say give someone a chance to make rookie mistakes. That wasn't the attitude. Within hours you had everyone from Nancy Pelosi on down saying this is isn't okay. It doesn't make it right. It doesn't end as a topic of discussion and certainly not for president trump continuing to focus on this but I think they recognized that this has a potential to become a major distraction for them. Trump's the last one to say anything about it but of course he did. Rick, I wanted you to come on because this seems to be a weird trend in freshmen, specifically congresswoman, coming in. Alexandria ocasio-cortez claims that Israel was illegally occupying palestine. Congresswoman tlaib tweeted, this is the U.S. Where boycotting is a right of freedom and equality. To clarify, it means boycott the sanctions movement. Why is it that there seems to be this anti-Israel, pro-media B.S.? There's a difference between anti-semitism and that's why the congresswoman apologized and being critical of American policy toward Israel which is a legitimate discussion and legitimate debate that I think both parties will continue to be engaged in. The left has had a sentiment of pro Palestinian or some would say anti-Israel or anti-current the Israeli government for a long time. Jimmy Carter has written about it. That discussion around human rights and the treatment of Palestinians is a part of the legitimate realm of discussion. That's different than tracking in anti-semitism and that's ere the line seems to be. It seemsz to get mixed up. You don't really know what's in a member of congress' heart when they say something like this, what is their actual intent? That's another question and sometimes that's a question of learning what things you're allowed to say or are acceptable to say. That's why Twitter can be so dangerous. The congresswoman saying OMAR has hypnotized the world though, that's dog whistle in anti-semitism. The concern is not just the bds sanctions but there's a lot of language used that is unusual for freshmen politicians and I think that's why there's such blowback for her. Should she be worried going forward? Democrats need to watch this carefully. Clearly this is a member of congress that doesn't tend to go anywhere. She's not taking the president's advice nor should she of resigning or removed from the committee but the leaders are served notice that they're watching this and are going to monitor this and are focused on this. They're also going to turn their attention to the other side. President trump has been quick to condemn this. He hasn't condemned Steven king. He was put off the house foreign affairs committee which OMAR has not been. I don't believe she should be on there. That's what the house leadership did. What's interesting to me though is that some of the loudest voices condemning OMAR have espoused this anti-semitism stereotypes themselves. You have Kevin Mccarthy, a Republican out of California, he called for the chamber to penalize OMAR and Rashida tlaib but last October he tweeted a nefarious image of George rows saying we cannot allow George Soros and Michael Bloomberg to buy the election. President trump also in 2016 ran his own ad featuring sort of a menacing Soros along with Goldman Sachs chief executive Lloyd blankfein and federal reserve chair Janet Yellen, both jewish, he also told a room of American jewish folks at the white house that Israel is your country. He hasn't apologized for that. So you see this being used, I think, by Republicans as a wedge issue when they don't come into this issue with clean hands. Why do you think they believe this is a winning issue for them? I think there's an element here that needs to be avoided which is your anti-semitism is worse than my anti-semitism. That doesn't get you anywhere in terms of a discussion. I think there's a recon attorney general -- reckoning that has to happen and I can you're starting to see that play out. The parties in some ways self-police and it becomes a question of what do the Republican rank and file demand of their leadership versus what the Democrats demand of theirs. I think the standard ends up being imposed by the members of the party, what you think the appropriate response is to something like this. We should say neither of those comments represent the mainstream of those parties. Even Democrats seem to be concerned about this far left. I'm all for new faces and new voices but them polling even some of the candidates that we're seeing run in 2020 so far left and they're saying, look, this should be a slam dunk for Democrats in 2020. An op-ed from a liberal saying Democrats need to be aware of their looney left. We've heard the president on the campaign trail saying Democrats are going to turn this country into Venezuela. The candidates running on the democratic side have in their own way endorsed this. Should Democrats be concerned? 81% of voters agree with the green deal. They don't even know -- the lawmakers I don't think understand fully what's in this deal. Should Democrats be concerned? Does Nancy Pelosi need to take on a bigger role there in reining thisin? There's a concern that the tea party movement that we saw with the Republican party may happen on the democratic side. You uttered two key words, Nancy Pelosi. Strategists point to her as someone who can rein in some of the impulses, make sure a vote on the green new deal doesn't hantil people know what it is. And if they leave Alexandria ocasio-cortez's name out. And you don't misconstrue it. If you present it accurately, maybe there's an argument. I had an interesting conversation earlier this week. Brown, the senator from Ohio, was asked about the green new deal. He said just because someone has a good idea, that's nice, maybe it's something I do but I don't have to chase that as a presidential candidate. Why are they doing that then? I think it becomes a new standard for everyone and you want to be the democratic candidate who's against the green new deal when you realize there's energy in the party for it. And especially because climate change is real. The majority of Americans agree with a lot of it. I don't know who you're talking to but I don't -- I'll show you my source but we have to go.
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