DENVER – Rep. Lauren Boebert’s attempt at apologizing to Rep. Ilhan Omar in a phone call Monday ended with Omar hanging up after Boebert doubled down on hateful rhetoric from last week, the two congresswomen said.
Last week, Boebert, the Republican from Colorado’s 3rd congressional district, said she apologized to “anyone in the Muslim community I offended” after video surfaced of Boebert claiming she had made anti-Muslim remarks to Omar in a Capitol elevator.
“I said, ‘Well, she doesn’t have a backpack; we should be fine,’” Boebert said in the video, later saying she told the Minnesota Democratic congresswoman she was part of “the jihad squad.”
Omar said Boebert fabricated the incident and condemned Boebert’s remarks, tweeting, “Anti-Muslim bigotry isn’t funny & shouldn’t be normalized.”
Omar last week called for House Democratic and Republican leaders to discipline Boebert for her remarks. Democratic leaders, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi, asked Boebert to retract the story and called on Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to take action against Boebert.
Boebert said Friday she had reached out to Omar’s office so the two could speak directly.
That conversation happened Monday, according to both Boebert and Omar. The Colorado congresswoman posted a video on Facebook outlining her version of the conversation, after which Omar issued a statement of her own about what she felt ensued.
Neither released the actual contents of the call.
“Instead of apologizing for her Islamophobic comments and fabricated lies, Rep. 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. “I believe in engaging with those we disagree with respectfully, but not when that disagreement is rooted in outright bigotry and hate.”
Boebert claimed in her video she told Omar she did not want to offend anyone’s religion because she is “a strong Christian woman” but went on to say that she told Omar she should be the one apologizing.
“She kept asking for a public apology, so I told Ilhan Omar that she could make a public apology to the American people for her anti-American, anti-Semitic, anti-police rhetoric. She continued to press and I continued to press back. And then, Rep. Omar hung up on me,” Boebert said.
She went on to imply in the video that Omar, who is Muslim and who moved to the U.S. with her family from Somalia seeking asylum before she became a U.S. citizen in 2000, sympathized with terrorists. She also called Omar’s hanging up “part of cancel culture 101.”
Boebert had also referred to Omar being part of the “jihad squad” as the House debated a censure resolution for Rep. Paul Gosar after he posted a video online showing him attacking Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez with a sword. She has repeatedly used anti-Islamic rhetoric. Omar again Monday called on McCarthy and other Republicans to act as arms of the party, including Boebert, continue to push hateful rhetoric.
“To date, the Republican Party leadership has done nothing to condemn and hold their own members accountable for repeated instances of anti-Muslim hate and harassment,” Omar said. “This is not about one hateful statement or one politician; it is about a party that has mainstreamed bigotry and hatred. It is time for Republican Leader McCarthy to actually hold his party accountable.”
Colorado state Rep. Iman Jodeh said Boebert is "completely mistaken about Muslims, about Islam and really the 2 billion people in this world that follow this way of life."
"As Muslims, we are obligated to practice forgiveness," Jodeh said in an interview with Denver7. "At the same time, she also has an obligation to reach out to the Muslims in her community and to visit those mosques. They would be more than happy to welcome her. And so offering that, really, olive branch to get a better understanding about Muslims, about Islam and the people that follow this way of life would allow her to, in fact, be a better representative in the Capitol and uphold her duties and the oath she swore to uphold the Constitution."