House progressives led by Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) are demanding that GOP Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado be sanctioned for remarks she made about another progressive member, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), and removed from her committee assignments.
The move comes in response to a controversy that began after a video surfaced over the Thanksgiving weekend featuring Boebert telling a crowd of supporters a story about how she and a staffer got on an elevator at the U.S. Capitol and saw a police officer running toward them.
Boebert told the crowd she turned and saw Omar standing nearby, then said, “I said, ‘Well, she doesn’t have a backpack. We should be fine,’” which drew laughter. “And I said, ‘Oh, look. The ‘jihad squad’ decided to show up for work today.”
The Washington Post first reported on Pressley’s resolution, The Hill noted.
It isn’t at all clear whether the progressives’ effort will garner enough support among House Democratic leaders to move forward, though talks have been underway to broadly condemn Islamophobia. That said, rank-and-file Democrats have increased their calls for leadership to take action against Boebert following other remarks about Omar.
The Hill noted that a source familiar with Pressley’s resolution confirmed on Wednesday that a dozen Democratic lawmakers have co-sponsored it, including Reps. Cori Bush (Mo.), Judy Chu (Calif.), Jesús García (Ill.), Jimmy Gomez (Calif.), Pramila Jayapal (Wash.), Barbara Lee (Calif.), Rashida Tlaib (Mich.), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.) and Jamaal Bowman (N.Y.).
Today, I’m leading a resolution to remove Rep. Boebert from her committee assignments.
Her dangerous behavior & hateful, Islamophobic rhetoric has no place in our society & only emboldens further violence.
There must be accountability. pic.twitter.com/oOZnUpN71R
— Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (@RepPressley) December 8, 2021
“For a Member of Congress to repeatedly use hateful, anti-Muslim rhetoric and Islamophobic tropes towards a Muslim colleague is dangerous. It has no place in our society and it diminishes the honor of the institution we serve in,” Pressley said, The Hill reported.
“Without meaningful accountability for that Member’s actions, we risk normalizing this behavior and endangering the lives of our Muslim colleagues, Muslim staffers and every Muslim who calls America home,” the outlet continued. “The House must unequivocally condemn this incendiary rhetoric and immediately pass this resolution. How we respond in moments like these will have lasting impacts, and history will remember us for it.”
Pressley and nearly three dozen other Democrats earlier this month called for Boebert’s committee assignments to be taken away from her.
“Rep. Boebert has repeatedly weaponized dangerous, anti-Muslim bigotry at our colleague Representative Ilhan Omar (MN-05). Instead of apologizing, Rep. Boebert has continued her Islamophobic rhetoric and chosen to spread hateful speech even further. In the face of death threats and vitriol being spewed at Rep. Omar, Representative Kevin McCarthy (CA-23)’s decision to allow and embolden continued hostility from his members speaks clearly to the Republican party’s willingness to allow hate and division to grow at the expense of our people, our values, and our institutions,” they noted in a statement at the time.
Boebert has apologized to Omar for her remarks.
In a video that was posted to her social media accounts, Boebert explained she had reached out to Omar for a phone call because she “wanted to let her know directly that I had reflected on my previous remarks.”
However, the call reportedly ended with Omar hanging up on the Colorado Republican.
“Now as a strong, Christian woman who values faith deeply, I never want anything I say to offend someone’s religion. 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,” Boebert explained.
“So I reiterated to her what I had just said,” she added. “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.”
“She continued to press and I continued to press back. And then, Representative Omar hung up on me,” Boebert said. “Rejecting an apology and hanging up on someone is part of ‘Cancel Culture 1o1.’”
Omar released a statement following the phone call.
“Today I graciously accepted a call from Rep. Lauren Boebert 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,” the Minnesota Democrat said.
“Instead of apologizing for her Islamophobic comments and fabricated lies, Rep. Boebert refused to publicly acknowledge her hurtful and dangerous comments,” Omar added. “She instead doubled down on her rhetoric and I decided to end the unproductive call.”
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