Following the horrific example of Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona, who posted an animated video depicting the killing of his congressional colleague Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, another member of the House of Representatives has made a similarly vile attack on a co-worker based purely on her religious beliefs.
James Anderson of the Associated Press reported that “Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota has called for House leaders to take ‘appropriate action’ against Colorado Republican Rep. Lauren Boebert for using anti-Muslim language in describing a recent encounter she had with Omar at the U.S. Capitol.”
According to Anderson, “Boebert made the remarks this holiday break. In [the recorded clip], she says she and a staffer were taking a Capitol elevator when she saw an alarmed Capitol police officer running toward them. She said she turned to her left and spotted Omar standing beside them.”
Boebert then turned back and said, “Well, she doesn’t have a backpack. We should be fine.” As staffers around her laughed, she then added, “Oh look, the jihad squad decided to show up for work today.”
Following Omar’s description of the event, other members of the House, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi, have demanded an immediate retraction and disciplinary treatment for Boebert.
In a tweet, Omar said that the incident was fabricated but added that Boebert’s racism was no laughing matter.
“Fact, this buffoon looks down when she sees me at the Capitol,” Omar tweeted. “This whole story is made up. Sad she thinks bigotry gets her clout.”
In a subsequent tweet, Omar added that “[Boebert] saying I am a suicide bomber is no laughing matter. [House Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy] and [Speaker Pelosi] need to take appropriate action, normalizing this bigotry not only endangers my life but the lives of all Muslims. Anti-Muslim bigotry has no place in Congress.”
Less than a year into her first term in Congress, Boebert has become a familiar and recurring source of controversy in D.C., from demanding the right to bring her gun onto the House floor to voting to overturn President Joe Biden’s election win, as well as frequently maligning members of the House she doesn’t see eye-to-eye with, such as Omar.
“Pelosi and other top House Democrats called on Boebert to ‘fully retract these comments and refrain from making similar ones going forward,’” Anderson said. “They also demanded that Republican leaders ‘to address this priority with the Congresswoman and to finally take real action to confront racism.’”
Following media attention to the incident, 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.”
Still, that apology isn’t enough for many, including the Council on American-Islamic Relations, who have condemned Boebert’s for her actions, saying that her allusion to Omar’s backpack is an “Islamophobic smear that all Muslims are terrorists.”