Suggesting her Muslim colleague is a terrorist is apparently regular material in Lauren Boebert’s pathetic, unfunny standup act. The Colorado lawmaker was filmed in September telling a near-identical story to the one she told over Thanksgiving weekend about riding in a Capitol Hill elevator with Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and being glad the Somali-American immigrant isn’t carrying a backpack. The September video was uncovered Tuesday by CNN’s KFile.
The newly surfaced video shows Boebert describing Omar and Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) — both of whom are among the first Muslim women to serve in Congress — as “black-hearted” and “evil.” Just as she did in a video filmed in November, Boebert said she only felt safe being on the elevator in Omar’s presence because the congresswoman was not wearing a backpack, implying Omar was a threat to set off an explosive device. The more recent video sparked outrage among Democrats, renewing calls for the Republican Party hold its members accountable for demonizing immigrants, spreading bigoted conspiracy theories, promoting violence, or all of the above.
Video of Boebert’s remarks in September was shared at the time on Facebook but didn’t make national news. “One of my I staffers, on his first day with me, got into an elevator in the Capitol. And in that elevator, we were joined by Ilhan Omar,” Boebert said in September. “It was just us three in there and I looked over and I said, well, lookey there, it’s the Jihad Squad.”
Boebert added: “She doesn’t have a backpack, she wasn’t dropping it and running so we’re good.”
Like a comedian working a bit, Boebert recycled the same story for an event over Thanksgiving weekend, this time adding in a frantic Capitol Police officer to spice the story up a little. “I was getting into an elevator with one of my staffers, and he and I were leaving the Capitol,” she said. “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? 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.’”
The story, a spokesperson for Omar has said, is “a fabrication.”
Boebert apologized on Twitter after the November video came to light, but it became clear she wasn’t very remorseful after the two spoke on the phone on Monday. In a video posted on social media after the call, Boebert said that she told Omar she’d “reflected” on her previous comment and never wanted anything she said to “offend someone’s religion.” But when Omar insisted on a public apology, Boebert said she responded by demanding Omar apologize “to the American people” for her “anti-American, antisemitic, anti-police” rhetoric. Omar then hung up on her. “Instead of apologizing for her Islamophobic comments and fabricated lies, Rep. Boebert refused to publicly acknowledge her hurtful and dangerous comments,” Omar said in a statement following the call. “She instead doubled down on her rhetoric and I decided to end the unproductive call.”
So far, despite calls from Omar and Democratic leadership asking Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) to take action against Boebert, the Republican House minority leader has declined to publicly condemn the congresswoman’s remarks. “She has apologized for what she said and has reached out to Congresswoman Omar to meet next week,” McCarthy said in a statement. “I spoke with Leader Hoyer today to help facilitate that meeting so that Congress can get back to talking to each other and working on the challenges facing the American people.”
Apparently unable to stop himself, former President Trump weighed in on Tuesday, making offensive comments about Omar and saying she should apologize for a number of perceived offenses, including, “abandoning her former country, which doesn’t even have a government — exactly what she’d like to see for the United States!”
Responding to the newly surfaced video of Boebert in September, Omar told CNN, “It just gets worse. This is unhinged, and she continues to be emboldened by her party. This is their brand and it’s dangerous.”