Dems call on leadership to condemn Boebert’s attack on Omar, say they’re focused on The People’s work

EXCLUSIVE: Democrats on the Hill push Republican Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to publicly call out Rep. Lauren Boebert after contentious phone call with Rep. Ilhan Omar

US Reps. Lauren Boebert and Ilhan Omar
(Photo: Getty Images)
Loading the player...

It is a scene right out of a fiery reality show — this time the backdrop is Capitol Hill. The real life characters, Democrat U.S. Congresswoman Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Republican Congresswoman Lauren Boebert of Colorado.  

The present feud between the congressional colleagues stems from anti-Muslim remarks made about Omar by freshman Rep. Boebert over a week ago to a crowd of conservative supporters. Boebert, a staunch Trump supporter, called Omar a “jihad.”

US Reps. Lauren Boebert and Ilhan Omar
(Photo: Getty Images)

Needless to say, the situation has escalated with both women requesting a public apology from one another and Omar hanging up the phone on Boebert after the congresswoman refused to publicly apologize. 

House Majority Whip James Clyburn, who returned to Washington, D.C. on Tuesday after Thanksgiving recess, told theGrio that he believes Republican House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy needs to step in to address the behavior of Boebert, who has proven herself to be a controversial member of his caucus.

“[Rep. McCarthy] has a responsibility in maintaining civility in this process. We all have that responsibility,” Clyburn said to theGrio.

Though McCarthy was the one who orchestrated the call between Boebert and Omar, Congressman Clyburn said that was not enough. “It is two different things,” he said, for McCarthy to push for a private phone conversation and to publicly call Boebert out and condemn her behavior. 

Before this latest round of verbal fisticuffs and Monday’s phone debacle, House Democrats were expected at the beginning of this week to refer Boebert to the House Committee on Ethics to consider a reprimand or censure for her actions.

Last week, Boebert apologized for her remarks in which, according to Congresswoman Omar, she lied about being in a Capitol Hill elevator with Omar as Capitol Police rushed toward the pair — insinuating that Omar posed as some sort of threat. Boebert told the crowd that as the doors closed: “I said, ‘Well, she doesn’t have a backpack … I should be fine.”

Another video that resurfaced on Tuesday reveals Boebert told the same story to a crowd in September, but slightly different.  

Boebert apologized for her comments in the initial video but has since deflected from her xenophobic remarks to argue that Omar should be the one to apologize for her “anti American, anti- Semitic, anti-police rhetoric.”

McCarthy’s inability to quell the tension and upset demonstrates the minority leader’s lack of control of his Republican members, a control McCarthy very much wants people to believe he has as he vies for the House Speaker position in the event that Republicans take the House majority in next year’s midterm elections.

Congressman Clyburn told theGrio that, from what he sees and hears on the Hill, he thinks McCarthy “is losing a lot of support in the public and in his caucus. He has just gone too far.”

House Committee On Coronavirus Crisis Examines Emergent Biosolutions
Representative James Clyburn (D-SC) (Photo by Susan Walsh-Pool/Getty Images)

Meanwhile, the Congressional Black Caucus issued a statement recently calling Representative Boebert’s comments “unacceptable” and “morally reprehensible and dangerous.” The CBC statement also acknowledged the “rhetoric perpetuates actions that could undoubtedly inspire more death threats to Representative Ilhan Omar and her family.”

“These pathetic racist lies will not only endanger the life of @IlhanMN, but will increase hate crimes towards Muslims,” tweeted fellow member of Omar’s “The Squad,” Rep. Rashida Tlaib, who is also Muslim. “The continued silence & inaction towards this hate-filled colleague and others is enabling violence. It must stop.”

There remains concern on the Hill about resolving the very public conflict between Boebert and Omar, however, Democratic Caucus Chair U.S. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries told theGrio that the House is busy working on pressing legislative issues like final passage of the Build Back Better Act, funding the government to avoid a default on the nation’s debt and dealing with voting rights — all of which Democrats would like to achieve before the holiday recess.  

“That’s a lot on our plate in a short period of time, but we will get it done For The People,” said Jeffries.

When it comes to voting rights, Democrats are continuing to press moderate Democrat Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia who some on the Hill believe is softening on the issue of at least modifying the filibuster to get past Republican opposition. 

Have you subscribed to theGrio podcasts “Dear Culture” or “Acting Up?” Download our newest episodes now!

TheGrio is now on Apple TV, Amazon Fire and Roku. Download theGrio.com today!

Loading the player...