Rep. Matt Gaetz, while agreeing with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy's removal of Democrat Reps. Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell from the chamber's Intelligence Committee, tells Newsmax he's undecided about a push to remove Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., from the Foreign Affairs Committee based on the matter of her antisemitic comments in the past.
"I view the Schiff and Swalwell matter somewhat differently than I view the Ilhan Omar matter," the Florida Republican said on Newsmax's "Prime News" on Monday night. "Ilhan Omar didn't lie about our intelligence agencies. She didn't say that [former President Donald] Trump was a Russian agent based on information from a particular committee that was just totally bogus."
Instead, Gaetz said, many Republicans want to remove Omar from the Foreign Affairs Committee "because they don't like what she has to say."
McCarthy has said he wants to remove the congresswoman from the committee over her "repeated antisemitic and anti-American remarks," including in 2019 when the Somalia-born Omar referred to 9/11 as an incident in which "some people did something."
But while it was Omar's comments are leading McCarthy to say he wants her off the committee, Schiff and Swalwell, both California Democrats, are "dangerous to our country," because "they lied about intelligence. They created a structure of leaks and then embroidered those leaks onto other lies. You saw Adam Schiff lying about his contact with whistleblowers."
Gaetz is the sponsor of the PENCIL (Preventing Extreme Negligence with Classified Information Licenses) Act, which would bar Schiff from reviewing any classified material and also strike the Russian collusion narrative from the official record, and he told Newsmax that he had support from colleagues for the legislation.
With Omar, Gaetz said he believes McCarthy deserves deference on his position and he wants to hear him out, but he's still undecided about removing Omar.
"It's one thing to do dangerous things to the country with intelligence. It's quite another to say I don't like your viewpoint and thus I want to remove you," the congressman said.
He added that he doesn't support such actions when it comes to the situation between Newsmax and DirecTV, and he "didn't support it when it was directed at my friend and colleague, Marjorie Taylor Greene."
Further, Gaetz said he's "uncomfortable" that the case against Omar is not being subjected to due process.
"If they think that she's brought discredit on the House, there is actually a House rule where there can be an ethics investigation and there can be a resolution with due process," said Gaetz.
Gaetz also pointed to the tense exchange in 2019 between Omar and Elliott Abrams, Trump's envoy to Venezuela, during a Foreign Affairs Committee hearing "about some of the neoconservative policies that were very detrimental in South America."
"Sometimes there is a view on foreign policy that isn't to invade everywhere and try to turn every foreign land into a Jeffersonian democracy, and there are times Ilhan makes those arguments and there are arguments that at times aligned with America first foreign policy," said Gaetz.
In other matters, Gaetz also wrote an opinion piece for The Washington Examiner claiming that a $90 million Howard University research and development contract shows "wokeism" within the Pentagon, specifically with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.
"I think Lloyd Austin may be one of the dumbest people to have ever served on a presidential cabinet," said Gaetz. "He shows up at our committee and huffs and puffs about how the military is not woke. Then he shows up at Howard and says that the principal reason they're being granted this $90 million is race, which is the fundamental issue. I don't think we should care what color people are. I think we ought to invest in defense research to ensure we have the best radar and munitions and telemetry."
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