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Boebert reportedly asked an Orthodox Jewish group if they were doing "reconnaissance" at the Capitol.
The group was there with Rep. Tom Suozzi, and one member said they were "not sure to be offended or not."
"I'm too short to see anyone's yarmulkes," said Boebert in response, adding that it was a joke.
Republican Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado reportedly asked a group of Orthodox Jews at the Capitol if they were conducting "reconnaissance," sparking discomfort and criticism from Rep. Tom Suozzi, who was hosting the group.
BuzzFeed News reported on Thursday that Boebert encountered the group, who were dressed in traditional Orthodox Jewish clothing, at an elevator at the Capitol. The far-right congresswoman looked at the group "from head to toe" and then made the remark about "reconnaissance," which she says was a self-referential joke and not a remark based on their appearance.
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"I saw a large group and made a joke. Sadly when Democrats see the same they demonize my family for a year straight," Boebert told BuzzFeed in a text on Thursday. "I'm too short to see anyone's yarmulkes."
In the wake of the January 6 assault on the Capitol, Democratic Reps. Steve Cohen of Tennessee and John Yarmuth of Kentucky said they saw Boebert leading a large group through a tunnel connecting the Capitol to House office buildings in the days before the attack.
Their accusation came amid a broader discussion about "reconaissance" tours at the Capitol, and Boebert called their remarks "slanderous" at the time.
Despite Boebert's insistence that some members of the Jewish group got the joke, others didn't seem to catch the reference and were left confused by what Boebert meant.
"When I heard that, I actually turned to the person standing next to me and asked, 'Did you just hear that?'" a rabbi who was with the group told BuzzFeed News. "You know, I'm not sure to be offended or not."
"I was very confused," the rabbi added, saying that "people are very sensitive" in the wake of a hostage situation last weekend at a Texas synagogue.
The group was at the Capitol with Rep. Tom Suozzi of New York, as part of the 41st anniversary of the end of the Iran hostage crisis. Suozzi has been trying to recognize those hostages with a Congressional Gold Medal.
"The bottom line is that everyone, especially members of Congress, have to be very, very thoughtful in the language they use," said Suozzi in a statement. "Because when you're a member of Congress, you have an important role to play in society. You can't be cavalier in the comments you make especially if they could be perceived as being antisemitic, or discriminatory."
Boebert is no stranger to controversy. In November, the congresswoman insinuated that Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota was a suicide bomber, prompting fierce criticism and an effort by progressive lawmakers to remove her from her committee assignments.
Boebert's office didn't immediately respond to a request for comment from Insider.
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