Conservative Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) and far-left Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) traded angry statements Monday, with Boebert accusing Omar of cutting off a phone call meant to smooth things over between the pair after video emerged of the Colorado Republican joking that her colleague had been mistaken for a terrorist by a Capitol Hill police officer.
The drama began on Thanksgiving Day, when an anonymous Twitter account posted video of Boebert telling a story about being in an elevator with Omar when an officer rushed toward them.
“I said, ‘Well, she [Omar] doesn’t have a backpack, we should be fine,’” Boebert joked to laughter and a smattering of applause from her audience.
On Friday, Boebert tweeted: “I apologize to anyone in the Muslim community I offended with my comment about Rep. Omar. I have reached out to her office to speak with her directly. There are plenty of policy differences to focus on without this unnecessary distraction.”
On Monday, Omar said in a statement that she had spoken with Boebert earlier in the day “in the hope of receiving a direct apology for falsely claiming she met me in an elevator, suggesting I was a terrorist, and for a history of anti-Muslim hate.
“Instead of apologizing for her Islamophobic comments and fabricated lies,” Omar went on, “Rep. Boebert refused to publicly acknowledge her hurtful and dangerous comments. She instead doubled down on her rhetoric and I decided to end the unproductive call. I believe in engaging with those we disagree with respectfully, but not when that disagreement is rooted in outright bigotry and hate.”
Boebert posted a video statement on social media shortly after the call in which she rebuffed Omar’s demand for a public apology, arguing that her Friday statement was sufficient.
“Now as a strong, Christian woman who values faith deeply, I never want anything I say to offend someone’s religion,” the Republican said. “So I told her that. Even after I put out a public statement to that effect, she said that she still wanted a public apology because what I had done wasn’t good enough. So I reiterated to her what I had just said.”
“She kept asking for a public apology, so I told Ilhan Omar that she should make a public apology to the American people for her anti-American, anti-Semitic, anti-police rhetoric,” Boebert went on. “She continued to press and I continued to press back. And then, Representative Omar hung up on me.”
Omar concluded her statement by accusing House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) of failing to discipline Republican members for what she described as “repeated instances of anti-Muslim hate and harassment.”
“This is not about one hateful statement or one politician; it is about a party that has mainstreamed bigotry and hatred,” Omar said. “It is time for Republican Leader McCarthy to actually hold his party accountable.”
In a statement Friday, six members of House Democratic leadership called Boebert’s comments about Omar “deeply offensive and concerning.”
“This language and behavior are far beneath the standard of integrity, dignity and decency with which the Constitution and our constituents require that we act in the House. We call upon Congresswoman Boebert to fully retract these comments and refrain from making similar ones going forward,” continued the statement by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC), Assistant Speaker Katherine Clark (D-Mass.), Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) and Caucus Vice Chair Pete Aguilar (D-Calif.).
“Leader McCarthy and the entire House Republican Leadership’s repeated failure to condemn inflammatory and bigoted rhetoric from members of their conference is outrageous. We call on the Republican Leadership to address this priority with the Congresswoman and to finally take real action to confront racism.”
The latest Democratic push for disciplinary action against a GOP member comes shortly after the House voted largely along party lines to censure Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) and strip him of his committee assignments after he tweeted an anime video depicting violence against progressive Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and President Biden.
During the floor debate on Gosar’s censure, Boebert referred to Omar as “the Jihad Squad member from Minnesota.”