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House Democrats introduce resolution to strip Boebert of committee assignments

·Senior Writer
·5 min read
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  • Lauren Boebert
    American politician
  • Ilhan Omar
    United States Representative
  • Ayanna Pressley
    U.S. Representative from Massachusetts

Nearly a dozen House Democrats introduced a resolution Wednesday to strip Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., of her committee assignments for anti-Muslim remarks aimed at Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., after House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy declined to punish Boebert for making them.

Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., formally introduced the measure, which is backed by Reps. Cori Bush of Missouri; Judy Chu, Barbara Lee and Jimmy Gomez of California; Jesús “Chuy” García of Illinois; Pramila Jayapal of Washington; Rashida Tlaib of Michigan; and Jamaal Bowman and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York.

The resolution follows Boebert’s repeated use of anti-Muslim remarks aimed at Omar, one of the first two Muslim women (along with Tlaib) to serve in Congress.

In a video clip that emerged last month, the Colorado lawmaker compared Omar to a terrorist. “Well, she doesn’t have a backpack. We should be fine,” Boebert said about a time she allegedly shared an elevator with Omar. (Omar denies the incident ever happened.) Boebert also called Omar a member of the "jihad squad."

“For a member of Congress to repeatedly use hateful, anti-Muslim rhetoric and Islamophobic tropes towards a Muslim colleague is dangerous,” Pressley said at a press conference announcing the resolution. “This sort of toxic behavior has no place in the halls of Congress, and it diminishes the honor of the institution that we all serve in.”

Reps. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., and Lauren Boebert, R-Colo.
Reps. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., and Lauren Boebert, R-Colo. (Photo illustration: Yahoo News; photos: Morry Gash/AP, Joe Skipper/Reuters)

“Enough is enough," Pressley continued. "Without meaningful accountability, we risk normalizing this behavior and endangering the lives of our Muslim colleagues, Muslim staffers and every Muslim who calls America home.” 

She added: “How we respond in moments like these will have lasting impacts, and history will remember us for it. The world is watching.”

“Lauren Boebert is a danger to this country,” Bush said. “She is a danger to the Muslim staffers that work here. She is a danger to her fellow members of Congress. Removing her from her committees is the least leadership can do.”

“We can't continue to say that bigotry has no place in our society and then not take any action,” Tlaib said, fighting back tears. “We are sending a strong message that this hate will not be tolerated in the halls of Congress.”

More than 40 House Democrats have called on Boebert to be stripped of her committee assignments, saying in a joint letter last week that there "must be consequences when Members of Congress demonize an entire religion and promote hate from their positions of public trust." A handful of GOP lawmakers have also condemned Boebert.

McCarthy, though, did not condemn her when pressed about the incident, claiming she had already resolved the issue.

“She apologized publicly,” McCarthy said last week. “She apologized personally."

But Boebert didn't issue a full public apology. She tweeted that she apologized “to anyone in the Muslim community I offended,” without mentioning Omar.

During a subsequent phone call between the two lawmakers, Omar said she asked Boebert for a direct public apology and was rebuffed.

"Rep. Boebert refused to publicly acknowledge her hurtful and dangerous comments," Omar said in a statement after the phone call. "She instead doubled down on her rhetoric, and I decided to end the unproductive phone call."

Boebert offered more incendiary rhetoric in her own recounting of the call.

"Rejecting an apology and hanging up on someone is part of 'cancel culture 101,' and a pillar of the Democrat Party. Make no mistake, I will continue to fearlessly put America first, never sympathizing with terrorists. Unfortunately, Ilhan can't say the same thing," Boebert said in an Instagram video.

Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., plays a voicemail containing an anti-Muslim message from an unknown person, which she says she recently received, during a Nov. 30 news conference addressing comments made by Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., on Capitol Hill.
Omar plays a voicemail containing an anti-Muslim message from an unknown person, which she says she recently received, during a Nov. 30 news conference addressing Boebert's comments. (Elizabeth Frantz/Reuters)

On CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday, Omar harshly criticized McCarthy for his tepid response.

"McCarthy is a liar and a coward. He doesn't have the ability to condemn the kind of bigoted Islamophobia and anti-Muslim rhetoric that are being trafficked by a member of his conference," Omar said. "We have to be able to stand up to them. And we have to push them to reckon with the fact that their party, right now, is normalizing anti-Muslim bigotry."

This year, Democrats have already stripped Reps. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., and Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., of their committee assignments for threats of violence.

In introducing the resolution against Boebert, lawmakers are hoping to pressure House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to take similar action.

On “State of the Union,” Omar said Pelosi promised her she would take “decisive action” against Boebert this week.

“I’ve had a conversation with the speaker, and I’m very confident that she will take decisive action,” she said. “As you know, when I first got to Congress, I was worried that, you know, I wasn’t going to be allowed to be sworn in because there was a ban on the hijab. She promised me that she’d take care of it. She fulfilled that promise. She made another promise to me that she will take care of this, and I believe her.”

At her weekly press conference Wednesday, Pelosi would not say what kind of action she had planned.

“When I’m ready to announce that, I’ll let you know,” she said.

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