Rep. Omar ended ‘unproductive’ call after Boebert refused to apologize for anti-Muslim remarks

The Somalian American congresswoman, who is Muslim, said nothing was resolved in the conversation.

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) was hoping to receive a direct apology from Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) after her anti-Muslim comments sparked outrage last week, but instead, the two had an “unproductive” phone conversation about the controversy. 

In a viral video clip posted by a Twitter account called PatriotTakes, Boebert said she and a staffer were taking a Capitol elevator when she saw an alarmed Capitol police officer running toward them. She said she turned to her left and spotted Omar standing beside them, theGrio reported.

Rep. Ilhan Omar (left) and Rep. Lauren Boebert (right) (Public domain)

”Well, she doesn’t have a backpack. We should be fine,” Boebert recalled saying, drawing laughs from her audience. “And I said, ‘Oh look, the jihad squad decided to show up for work today.’”

Omar publicly urged Speaker Nancy Pelosi and GOP House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to discipline Boebert.

In a newly released statement about the viral video, Omar said, “Today, I graciously accepted a call from Rep. Lauren Boebert in the hope of receiving a direct apology for falsely claiming she met me in an elevator, suggesting I was a terrorist, and for a history of anti-Muslim hate. 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. I decided to end the unproductive call.”

“I believe in engaging with those we disagree with respectfully, but not when that disagreement is rooted in outright bigotry and hate,” Omar added.

“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. 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,” her statement concluded, as reported by Mediaite

Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar at an April press conference in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota. (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

Pelosi and other top House Democrats called on Boebert in a statement later Friday to “fully retract these comments and refrain from making similar ones going forward.” They also demanded that Republican leaders “address this priority with the Congresswoman and to finally take real action to confront racism.”

The Council on American-Islamic Relations condemned Boebert’s remarks in a statement urging McCarthy and other Republican leaders to repudiate Boebert’s remarks. It said Boebert’s allusion to a backpack is an “Islamophobic smear that all Muslims are terrorists,” as well as her use of the term “jihad squad.”

Following the wave of backlash, Boebert retracted her comments. She apologized on Twitter on Friday, saying, “I apologize to anyone in the Muslim community I offended with my comment about Rep. Omar. I have reached out to her office to speak with her directly.”

Omar said Thursday that Boebert had fabricated the story.

“Fact, this buffoon looks down when she sees me at the Capitol, this whole story is made up,” Omar tweeted. “Sad she thinks bigotry gets her clout.”

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