Rep. Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and other Democrats want to strip Rep. Lauren Boebert of her committee assignments over “repeated use of Islamophobic, racist and hateful” remarks that painted Rep. Ilhan Omar as a potential terrorist.
The lawmakers accuse House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of refusing to hold the Colorado congresswoman accountable after she was widely denounced for trying to nab laughs from Republican crowds by calling Omar a member of “the jihad squad.” In comments Omar dismissed as entirely bogus last month, Boebert claimed that a Capitol Police officer once fretted about Omar’s presence in an elevator with her, but that she’d “be fine” because Omar wasn’t “wearing a backpack.”
“For a member of Congress to repeatedly use hateful, anti-Muslim rhetoric and Islamophobic tropes towards a Muslim colleague is dangerous,” Pressley said in a statement Wednesday. “It has no place in our society and it diminishes the honor of the institution we serve in.”
Pressley — joined by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and several other progressives — introduced a resolution Wednesday that calls for Boebert’s removal from several committees. The lawmakers held a press conference on Capitol Hill. Several other Democrats have already signed on to the resolution after dozens of lawmakers released joint statements pressing leadership to hold Boebert accountable.
“I don’t feel like talking about what the Republicans aren’t doing, or are doing, about the disgraceful, unacceptable behavior of their members,” Pelosi told reporters Wednesday, adding that ”the responsibility is on them” to do something, AP reported.
Boebert sits on the Committee on Natural Resources, the Subcommittee on Indigenous Peoples, the Subcommittee on Water, Oceans and Wildlife, and the Budget Committee.
The most recent trigger for the squad seems to be a tweet sent by Lauren Boebert in support of Rep. Thomas Massie whose tweet is seen below the Boebert tweet. – GOPUSA Editor
The Boeberts have your six, @RepThomasMassie!
(No spare ammo for you, though) pic.twitter.com/EnDYuXaHDF
— Lauren Boebert (@laurenboebert) December 8, 2021
Omar is a member of the progressive group of lawmakers known as “the Squad,” as is Pressley. She is the first woman of color to represent Minnesota and one of the first two Muslim women to serve in Congress.
Omar called Boebert a bigoted “buffoon [who] looks down when she sees me at the Capitol.”
“Sad she thinks bigotry gets her clout,” Omar added. “Anti-Muslim bigotry isn’t funny and shouldn’t be normalized. Congress can’t be a place where hateful and dangerous Muslims tropes get no condemnation.”
A day later, Boebert tweeted an apology “to anyone in the Muslim community I offended with my comment … I have reached out to [Omar’s] office to speak with her directly. There are plenty of policy differences to focus on without this unnecessary distraction.”
Democratic lawmakers and critics blasted Boebert’s apology. Boebert told the conservative outlet Newsmax that she’s “moved on” from the controversy after Omar hung up on her during a follow up phone call. She also posted an Instagram video saying she had called on Omar to publicly apologize “to the American people for her anti-American, antisemitic, anti-police rhetoric.” MassLive reached out Boebert’s office Wednesday for a response to the Democrats’ resolution.
McCarthy, who said he spoke with Boebert when the videos came to light, told reporters last week he considered the matter closed after Boebert “apologized publicly and personally.”
He argued the Republican Party is “for anyone and everyone who craves freedom and supports religious liberty.”
McCarthy also challenged the media to ask Democrats about what he described as incendiary comments, including Ocasio-Cortez’s tweet that accused him of being “so desperate to be [House] speaker that he is working with his Ku Klux Klan caucus to look aside and allow violent targeting of [women of color] members of Congress.”
Ocasio-Cortez’s knock on the GOP leader came after Omar on Nov. 30 shared with the media a racist, anti-Muslim, expletive-laden death threat left with her office over voicemail just hours after she got off the phone with Boebert.
“You are ******* Muslim, piece of ****, you jihadist,” the caller said. “We know what you are. You are a ******* traitor. You will not live much longer, *****.”
The House earlier this year voted to remove Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene from committees after critics called out racist, antisemitic and conspiracy-driven comments, as well as past “likes” of social media posts and comments that called for violence against Democrats.
In a statement, Chu said Boebert’s comments were neither subtle nor a slip of the tongue; rather, they hearken back to the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, “when the exact lie that Rep. Boebert is repeating today, led to a spike in anti-Muslim hate crimes.”
“This would be unacceptable in any workplace, and is certainly unacceptable in the halls of Congress,” Chu added. “If Rep. Boebert chooses to spend her time threatening the safety of a colleague because of her religion, it will not be from the privileged perch of congressional committee.”
Pressley said that without punishing Boebert, Congress risks “normalizing this behavior and endangering the lives of our Muslim colleagues, Muslim staffers and every Muslim who calls America home. 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.”
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