The most senior Republican in the House of Representatives, Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, refused to apologize on Wednesday for a tweet in which he accused three Jewish billionaires of trying to “buy” the midterm elections.
McCarthy was asked about the tweet, which was criticized for having an anti-Semitic undertone, after he attacked Rep. Ilhan Omar, a Democrat from Minnesota, for her tweets about AIPAC.
“Well, that had nothing to do about faith - that was about Republicans versus Democrats,” McCarthy said on Wednesday, in reply to a question from Fox News.
In his tweet from October, which he later deleted but never apologized for, McCarthy wrote: “We cannot allow Soros, Steyer, and Bloomberg to BUY this election! Get out and vote Republican November 6th.” He ended the tweet using the hashtag “MAGA” - initials for Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan.
All the three billionaires he mentioned in the tweet - George Soros, Tom Steyer and Michael Bloomberg - are Jewish. All of them have endured anti-Semitic attacks over the years for their political activity.
McCarthy deleted the tweet a day after publishing it, in light of the fact that a right-wing extremist sent bombs to Soros and Steyer.
On Wednesday evening, following McCarthy’s statement that he doesn’t see any problem with the old tweet, the Anti Defamation League subtly criticized him. “For those who want to know why invoking Soros and other Jewish donors as 'buying' elections is an anti-Semitic dog whistle, read our explainer here,” the organization wrote on Twitter, linking to an article on the subject.
Earlier this week, Rep. Max Rose, a Jewish member of Congress from New York, also criticized McCarthy. Rose was the first Democrat to denounce Omar for her tweets on AIPAC and Israel, but he mentioned that while many Democrats denounced Omar, the same thing didn’t happen on the Republican side following McCarthy’s tweet. “Their caucus was united behind him,” Rose said.
Omar issued an apology on Monday evening. She wrote, "anti-Semitism is real and I am grateful for Jewish allies and colleagues who are educating me... I unequivocally apologize."