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Rep. Lauren Boebert suggested Rep. Ilhan Omar was terrorist in anti-Muslim remarks at event

CNN logo CNN 11/27/2021 By Andrew Kaczynski
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Republican Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado apologized to "anyone in the Muslim community I offended" on Twitter Friday after video surfaced of her making anti-Muslim comments last weekend about Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota.

In the video, posted last Saturday on Facebook from an event that day, Boebert implied Omar had been mistaken for a terrorist in an elevator on Capitol Hill.

"So the other night on the House floor was not my first jihad squad moment," Boebert told a crowd. "I was getting into an elevator with one of my staffers and he and I were leaving the Capitol, 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,'" Boebert continued. "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.' Don't worry, it's just her staffers on Twitter that talk for her. She's not tough in person."

Boebert's comments were flagged by the Twitter account PatriotTakes, a left-wing group that researches right-wing extremism and is associated with the liberal PAC MeidasTouch.

CNN has reached out to Boebert and multiple members of the congresswoman's office for comment but has not received a response.

Boebert said Friday she had contacted Omar's office.

"I apologize to anyone in the Muslim community I offended with my comment about Rep Omar," Boebert said in a statement posted on Twitter.

"I have reached out to her office to speak with her directly. There are plenty of policy differences to focus on without this unnecessary distraction," she said.


Video: GOP governor says McCarthy should condemn Boebert's racist language (CNN)

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Omar said the "whole story" was made up and condemned Boebert for her comments.

"Fact, 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 on Thursday. "Anti-Muslim bigotry isn't funny & shouldn't be normalized. Congress can't be a place where hateful and dangerous Muslims tropes get no condemnation."

On Friday, Omar called on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to take action against Boebert.

"Normalizing this bigotry not only endangers my life but the lives of all Muslims," Omar said in another tweet. "Anti-Muslim bigotry has no place in Congress."

Democratic leaders called on Boebert to fully retract her comments, saying in a statement the congresswoman's "language and behavior are far beneath the standard of integrity, dignity and decency with which the Constitution and our constituents require that we act in the House."

"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," said Pelosi, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, Majority Whip James Clyburn, assistant Speaker Katherine Clark, Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries and Caucus Vice Chair Pete Aguilar.

The Democratic leadership also called on McCarthy to act.

"Leader McCarthy and the entire House Republican Leadership's repeated failure to condemn inflammatory and bigoted rhetoric from members of their conference is outrageous," they said. "We call on the Republican Leadership to address this priority with the Congresswoman and to finally take real action to confront racism."

McCarthy said he spoke to Boebert on Friday in the wake of her comments and is encouraging she meet with Rep. Omar.

"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."

CNN reached out to McCarthy's office multiple times on Friday for a comment about Boebert, but they did not provide a statement to CNN until Saturday.

Two members of the House Republican caucus, Reps. Paul Gosar of Arizona and Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, have previously been censured or stripped of their committee assignments in the wake of incendiary incidents.

This story has updated with statements from Democratic leadership and Kevin McCarthy.

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