Progressive lawmakers and House staffers are putting pressure on Democratic leaders to punish first-term Republican Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado for a string of Islamophobic remarks directed at Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar.
On Wednesday, a group of Democratic lawmakers led by Massachusetts Rep. Ayanna Pressley will introduce legislation to remove Boebert from her positions on the House Natural Resources and Budget Committees.
Also on Wednesday, over 400 House staffers, including more than 50 Muslim staffers, issued an open letter pleading with House Democratic leadership to “categorically reject” the “incendiary rhetoric that endangers the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of Muslim staff on both sides of the aisle.”
“As dedicated public servants, we have each chosen to work towards a better future for our country,” the letter states. “However, Rep. Boebert’s recent remarks have heightened the Hill’s climate of Islamophobia, creating a sense of anxiety and fear for many Muslim staff, families, and communities, and leaving many of us looking to our congressional leaders for support.”
It’s unclear whether Pressley’s resolution will receive support from House Democratic leadership or a vote on the House floor before the end of the year.
Pelosi has rebuffed reporters who have asked her about punishing Boebert, claiming that it is the responsibility of House Republican leadership.
“All you do is ask us what we’re doing about what they should be doing in terms of their members, but their behavior is beneath the dignity of this institution,” Pelosi said Tuesday, according to reports.
When asked specifically about Pressley’s resolution, Pelosi reiterated this sentiment. “It is Republicans’ responsibility to discipline their members,” she said. Boebert referred to Omar, who is Muslim, as a member of a “Jihad Squad” at a November event in Colorado, and claimed that a Capitol Police officer had “fret all over his face” when he stepped into an elevator with Boebert and Omar.
According to the Colorado congresswoman, she told the officer, “She, on the other hand, does not have a backpack. We should be just fine, “a remark implying that Omar might be a terrorist.
“This buffoon looks down when she sees me at the Capitol, and the rest of the story is made up. Regrettably, she believes that bigotry gives her power “In response to the video, Omar tweeted on November 25.
At a September event in New York, Boebert told a similar Islamophobic story about Omar. In a November 22 interview, Boebert referred to Omar as “a literal terrorist” and stated that she “praises terrorists.”
On November 26, Boebert issued an apology to “anyone in the Muslim community I offended with my comment about Rep. Omar.”
On November 29, the two spoke by phone, but Omar cut the call short after Boebert refused to publicly apologize for his comments.
House Democrats, with the support of some Republican colleagues, have stripped two Republican members of Congress of committee assignments in 2021.
In February, the House voted to remove Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia from her committees, following the discovery of a slew of racist, Islamophobic, and bizarre conspiracy theories on social media. In November, the House censured Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona and removed him from his committees after he tweeted an anime-style video depicting him killing another progressive member, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and brandishing swords at President Joe Biden.