A tweet from freshman Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., claiming a pro-Israel lobbying group was buying off lawmakers is "shameful on all counts," and Democratic leaders should respond forcefully, Rep. Pete King, R-N.Y., said Monday.
"Number one, Israel is our main ally strategically," Rep. King told Fox News' "America's Newsroom," adding the Jewish nation is "indispensable" to U.S. relations in the Middle East.
"After the Holocaust and after all that's gone on, to be going back to that old slander and smear that somehow Jews are using money to pay people off is absolutely shameful," King continued. "I don't know why the Democratic leadership hasn't spoken out before this."
The American Jewish Committee has criticized Rep. Omar after she replied "AIPAC!" to a question about who she thinks is paying politicians to be pro-Israel.
Her comments also have come under fire from both sides of the aisle, including from Rep. Max Rose, D-N.Y., a Jewish lawmaker who said the statements were "hurtful," but King said he wants to know where criticism from party leaders, such as Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., has been.
King said he gives Rose credit for speaking up, even when his own party's members have not.
The lawmaker added he can see a person having "honest differences" with policy, but to suggest money is being used to and implying Israel is the villain is "shameful."
He said he thinks part of the problem is Democratic leadership is "afraid" to stand up to the party's resistance movement and left-wing base.