For The Record

House Dems mull how to address Boebert’s anti-Muslim remarks

By: - November 30, 2021 8:19 pm

Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) wears a “Make America Great Again” hat as she left the U.S. Capitol on Sept. 29, 2021. Drew Angerer/Getty Images

WASHINGTON—U.S. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said Tuesday that Democrats are weighing what to do about Republican Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado in connection with anti-Muslim comments she made about a colleague in the House.

“We’re considering what action ought to be taken,” said Hoyer, a Maryland Democrat, at a briefing with reporters.

Hoyer would not comment on whether Democrats might censure Boebert or strip her of her committee assignments, and instead said that it is the Republican Party that has a duty to condemn Boebert.

Boebert and Rep. Ilhan Omar, a Minnesota Democrat, clashed in a phone call on Monday, following a dispute over a video in which Boebert said she felt safe sharing an elevator ride with Omar because Omar was not wearing a backpack—equating one of the first Muslim women in Congress to a terrorist.

Omar said the interaction on the elevator never happened, and accused Boebert of falsifying the story to arouse her base.

The video of Boebert was taken at a campaign event over the Thanksgiving holiday.

Hoyer said it wasn’t a first for Boebert. CNN reported on Tuesday that Boebert also suggested to a crowd in September that Omar was a terrorist.

“It’s a pattern, and so that makes it even more concerning, particularly concerning because it inflames … the passions of people who then convert words into dangerous, threatening and harmful actions,” Hoyer told reporters.

He added that there hasn’t been much discussion yet among Democrats about Boebert’s comments and that he doesn’t want to “prejudge what action we think will be necessary.”

Hoyer said that Republicans use that kind of tactic to raise money for their campaigns “because it’s confrontational and demeaning to others.”

Hoyer also said Boebert did not give an adequate apology to Omar.

The Monday phone call ended with the Minnesota lawmaker hanging up because “Boebert refused to publicly acknowledge her hurtful and dangerous comments. She instead doubled down on her rhetoric and I decided to end the unproductive call,” Omar said in a statement.

“It was not an apology, it was rationalization,” Hoyer said, referring to the call. “It was excuses for words and conduct that are I think unacceptable, and should be sanctioned not only by the Republican leadership, but by Republicans in general.”

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Hoyer, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other members of the House Democratic leadership last week called on GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy to “finally take real action against racism” in reaction to Boebert’s comments.

Democrats this year already have taken away committee assignments from two House Republicans over their actions.

In November, Republican Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona was censured and had his committee assignments eliminated for posting a video to Twitter of a manipulated cartoon that depicted him killing Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York.

And in February, Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, who represents a Rome-based north Georgia district, was stripped of her two committee seats after social media posts surfaced of her spreading baseless conspiracy theories that the deadly mass school shooting in Parkland, Fla.,  was staged, and for encouraging violence against Democratic leadership.

Some members of the House GOP conference are growing increasingly hostile and when Rep. Nancy Mace, a South Carolina Republican, condemned Boebert’s comments about Omar, Greene lashed out at her.

Greene’s claim that Mace supports abortion is contradicted by the anti-abortion Susan B. Anthony List, which says on its legislative scorecard for Mace that she has “voted consistently to defend the lives of the unborn and infants.” Mace, who has said she was raped in high school, does support some exceptions for victims of rape and incest in anti-abortion legislation. But support for such exceptions is common even among anti-abortion conservatives.

Georgia Recorder Editor John McCosh contributed to this report.

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Ariana Figueroa
Ariana Figueroa

Ariana covers the nation's capital for States Newsroom. Her areas of coverage include politics and policy, lobbying, elections and campaign finance.

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