Planned phone call between Ilhan Omar and Lauren Boebert heats up, ends abruptly

A clash between Reps. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) and Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) took another turn for the worse on Monday following a phone call the Colorado Republican set up aimed at mending fences.

The initial controversy began after a video surfaced during 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 Building and saw a Capitol Police officer running toward them.

Boebert said she turned and saw Omar standing nearby, then told the crowd, “I said, ‘Well, she doesn’t have a backpack. We should be fine,'” which drew laughs from the crowd. “And I said, ‘Oh, look. The ‘jihad squad’ decided to show up for work today.”

The remarks were meant to be a play on Omar’s frequent criticism of Israel and her past anti-Semitic remarks while appearing to express support for militant groups like Hamas and the Palestinians.

Omar, however, said the encounter did not happen and she pushed back on Boebert for making what she called Islamophobic comments.

Boebert initially apologized for the remarks, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), in a bid to tamp down the controversy, reached out to his Democratic counterpart, Steny Hoyer of Maryland, to try and set up a phone call between the two.

The call happened on Monday, but apparently, that didn’t go well, either.

In a video posted to her social media accounts, Boebert said she had reached out to Omar because she “wanted to let her know directly that I had reflected on my previous remarks.”

“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 said.

“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 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.”

In a tweet, Omar added: “There is only so much grace we can extend to others as humans before we must learn to cut our loses or hang up on someone in this case.”

There had been some talk among Democrats to censure Boebert and potentially remove her from her committee assignments as has happened recently to Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) earlier this month after his staff posted an anime in which he appears to kill Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.). His removal came months after Democrats removed Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) from her assignments over controversial tweets.

But The Hill reports that Democrats do not appear to be in a hurry to move on Boebert — perhaps because they appear to be on course to lose control of the House during next year’s midterms and McCarthy has already indicated at least four Democrats could be in line for censure and committee removal as well for similar past infractions.

Nevertheless, Boebert remained defiant on Monday.

“Make no mistake, I will continue to fearlessly put America first, never sympathizing with terrorists. Unfortunately, Ilhan can’t say the same thing. And our country is worse off for it,” she said.

Missy Halsey


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