Rep. Ilhan Omar is calling on House leadership to take “appropriate action” against Rep. Lauren Boebert after the Republican lawmaker told an anti-Muslim story about Omar during a public event. In a video that went viral over Thanksgiving, Boebert tells supporters in her home district that she has “an Ilhan story” for them. Boebert, the far-right Trump ally from Colorado, says the story began when she went into an elevator with a staffer. “We’re leaving the Capitol and we’re going back to my office and we get an elevator and I see a Capitol police officer running, hurriedly to the elevator. I see fret all over his face, and he’s reaching, and the door’s shutting, like I can’t open it, like what’s happening,” Boebert told the crowd. “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.’ ”
Boebert’s audience was eating up the story and can be heard clapping and cheering in the video, which apparently pushed the lawmaker from Colorado to continue her Islamophobic rant. “So we only had one floor to go and I say, do I say it or do I not? And I look over and I say, ‘Look, the jihad squad decided to show up for work today,’ ” she added. “Don’t worry, it’s just her staffers on Twitter that talk for her. She’s not tough in person.”
As soon as the video started going viral, Omar was sure to make clear the whole story was a product of Boebert’s imagination. “This buffoon looks down when she sees me at the Capitol, this whole story is made up. Sad she thinks bigotry gets her clout,” Omar tweeted. “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.” She later went on to call on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to “take appropriate action” because “normalizing this bigotry not only endangers my life but the lives of all Muslims.”
Amid the uproar, Boebert sort of apologized. “I apologize to anyone in the Muslim community I offended with my comment about Rep Omar,” Boebert said in a statement posted on Twitter.
Democratic leaders quickly made clear that Boebert’s half-hearted apology was not enough. “Racism and bigotry of any form, including Islamophobia, must always be called out, confronted and condemned in any place it is found,” Democratic House leaders, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, said in a joint statement. “Congresswoman Boebert’s repeated, ongoing and targeted Islamophobic comments and actions against another Member of Congress, Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, are both deeply offensive and concerning.” The Democratic leaders went on to say that the failure of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and other GOP leaders “to condemn inflammatory and bigoted rhetoric from members of their conference is outrageous.”