This is the second time this month that a GOP lawmaker has faced backlash for offensive comments directed at a fellow Democrat. Just before Thanksgiving, House Democrats moved quickly to punish Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Arizona) after posting an animated video depicting the murder of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (DN.Y.); Gosar was censored and removed from his committees.
This time, President Nancy Pelosi and her leadership team strongly condemned Boebert’s comments, but demanded that parliamentary minority leader Kevin McCarthy be the one to act against the Coloradan. Omar echoed this sentiment in his own statement on Monday afternoon.
“This is not a hateful statement or a politician; this is a party that has integrated bigotry and hatred,” Omar wrote in a statement released after his call with Boebert. “It’s time for Republican Leader McCarthy to really organize his accountable party.”
A spokesperson for McCarthy did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Boebert said in her video, posted on Instagram, that she asked Omar to issue a public apology “for his anti-American, anti-Semitic and anti-police rhetoric.” Omar criticized the Israeli government in its advocacy for Palestinian rights, having clashed with some members of his own party in the past, and supported police reform efforts in the wake of the assassinations by police forces. the order of colored men and women. After the two swapped, Omar ended the call.
The episode will put additional pressure on McCarthy, who has faced a series of controversies over divisive rhetoric within his ranks. House Republicans would much rather focus on their political advantages over the Democrats and the Biden administration ahead of the next terms of office, rather than tone down the polarizing moments orchestrated by their own members.
It’s unclear what, if anything, Democratic leaders will do to respond to Boebert’s comments beyond the public condemnation they released late last week. Several senior Democratic officials described the situation as fluid, noting that Pelosi and his management team won’t even meet until Tuesday evening, when the House returns.
In addition, several Democrats have said privately they do not want to be lured into a “trap” by Republicans – forced to scrutinize every objectionable statement made by GOP lawmakers when McCarthy and other party leaders do nothing. to slow them down.
These Democrats, speaking on condition of anonymity to describe the internal conversations, said the situation with Boebert is also different from that of Gosar, who posted an animated video of himself killing his colleague and said then refused to apologize.
Omar’s office argued that GOP leaders have a responsibility to tackle Boebert’s model of “Islamophobic hate speech”, citing other examples of offensive language used against the Minnesota Democrat earlier this year. . This includes several instances where Boebert has falsely described Omar as an advocate of “state-sponsored terrorism”, declaring her “an honorary member of Hamas” who is a “sympathizer of terrorism”.
This month is also not the first time that Boebert has described Omar as part of the “jihad squad”. She also used the term at a campaign event in New York City in September.