Democratic leadership condemned Islamophobic remarks made by Republican Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) about Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) where she suggested Omar was a terrorist and called her a member of the “jihad squad.”
“Racism and bigotry of any form, including Islamophobia, must always be called out, confronted and condemned … We call on the Republican Leadership to address this priority with the congresswoman and to finally take real action to confront racism,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Democratic House leadership wrote in a statement late Friday.
Boebert was filmed over Thanksgiving break telling a story about an encounter with Omar in the Capitol — a story that Omar has since said is entirely untrue. But far be it from Boebert to let the truth get in her way.
“Actually I have an Ilhan story for you,” Boebert told a crowd at an event in her home district. “So the other night on the House floor was not my first jihad squad moment.”
“I was getting into an elevator with one of my staffers, and he and I were leaving the Capitol. We’re going back to my office, and we get in the elevator, and I see a Capitol Police officer running hurriedly to the elevator. I see fret all over his face, and he’s reaching. The door is shutting. I can’t open it. What’s happening?” Boebert said. “I look to my left and there she is, Ilhan Omar, and I said, ‘Well she doesn’t have a backpack, we should be fine.’ So we only had one floor to go and I say, do I say it or do I not? Looked over and I said, ‘Oh look, the jihad squad decided to show up for work today.’ “
As the audience laughed and cheered, Bobert added, “Don’t worry, it’s just her staffers on Twitter that talk for her. She’s not tough in person.”
Responding to Boebert’s comments, Omar tweeted on Thursday, saying, “Fact, this buffoon looks down when she sees me at the Capitol, this whole story is made up. Sad she thinks bigotry gets her clout. Anti-Muslim bigotry isn’t funny & shouldn’t be normalized. Congress can’t be a place where hateful and dangerous Muslims tropes get no condemnation.”
On Friday, Omar House leadership to address the congresswoman’s bigotry: “Saying I am a suicide bomber is no laughing matter. [House Republican Leader] Kevin McCarthy and [Speaker] Nancy 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.”
Representatives for Leader McCarthy did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Rolling Stone.
Boebert finally released an apology Friday afternoon on Twitter to the Muslim community. “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,” the congresswoman wrote. “There are plenty of policy differences to focus on without this unnecessary distraction.”
It’s particularly rich that Boebert claims Omar is a danger to Congress when Boebert is the one who has promised to carry her Glock with her in the Capitol and was caught trying to bring a gun onto the House floor. Members of Boebert’s staff also coordinated with organizers of the Jan. 6 Stop the Steal rally that turned into a violent assault on the Capitol, according to reporting by Rolling Stone.