An ugly backlash erupted within the Democratic Party over comments made by Ilhan Omar, a recently-elected congresswoman from Minnesota.
There is an ongoing dispute about how to deal with the fall-out, and of course, Donald Trump has waded in by tweeting his disgust about how it’s being dealt with – despite well-documented issues with anti-Semitism among his support base.
The controversy has echoes of the anti-Semitism row that has engulfed UK politics, with Omar’s outspoken comments about Israel similar to those voiced by some on the British left-wing.
We knew that the 116th Congress was going to be the most diverse in history, with 102 women, many more openly gay members, more blacks, more Latinos, the first two female Native Americans, a Somali immigrant and the first ever Palestinian American woman elected to the House. But it was an altogether different thing to actually see that blazingly colorful diversity assembled under the portraits of the older white men who have lorded over the House of Representatives for so long.
As Nancy Pelosi made her way through the chamber to reclaim the speaker’s gavel, stopping after almost every step to receive a hug, it was a very emotional scene and the first time since Donald Trump’s election that I felt lightness and happiness radiating from the Capitol.
‘Remarkable’: the two photos revealing the divide in Washington
And color. Deb Haaland of New Mexico, wearing a traditional Pueblo dress, was on the verge of tears as she embraced Sharice Davids of Kansas, a member of Ho-Chunk Nation. They are the first Native American women to serve in the House. Openly gay, Davids is also one of the record number of LGBTQ members of the chamber. Nearby, Ilhan Omar, a Somali immigrant from Minnesota, was resplendent in her white and gold hijab. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, chose a copy of the Qu’ran to swear herself in as the first Palestinian American woman to serve in Congress. (The Qu’ran once belonged to Thomas Jefferson).