U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert continues to rebuff calls she apologize for bigoted comments she made about Rep. Ilhan Omar, even after a phone call Monday with the Minnesota Democrat.
Boebert, a Republican from Colorado, can be seen on video (first shared by the extremist watch group Patriot Takes Thursday morning) telling a story to supporters. With microphone in hand, she claims to have seen a panic-stricken Capitol police officer running toward herself and a staffer on an elevator. According to Boebert's story, she then realized she was standing next to Omar.
"And I said, "Well, she doesn't have a backpack, we should be fine,'" Boebert tells the crowd she remarked — suggesting Omar, a Muslim woman and the first Somali American to be elected to U.S. Congress,, might be a suicide bomber. Boebert smiles while the crowd reacts with laughs and applause.
The evening the video was first shared, Omar issued a strong rebuke, referring to Boebert as a "buffoon" and calling the Colorado representative's story about the encounter false.
"Anti-Muslim bigotry isn’t funny & shouldn’t be normalized," Omar wrote. "Congress can’t be a place where hateful and dangerous Muslims tropes get no condemnation."
A flurry of statements followed:
A group of Democratic House leaders, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi, issued a statement Friday calling on Boebert to retract her comments, and for Republican leadership to "finally take real action to confront racism." (House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy responded by saying Boebert and Omar should meet so they can "get back to ... working on the challenges facing the American people," but did not comment on Boebert's bigoted remarks.)
Boebert that same day tweeted an apology from her U.S. elected official account "to anyone in the Muslim community I offended with my comment about Rep. Omar." She did not apologize to Omar directly.
On Monday, Boebert and Omar said they connected over the phone, with both representatives describing a conversation that involved Boebert refusing to publicly apologize, and a call that ended abruptly.
Boebert shared her account of the call in a video to Instagram, saying she "wanted to let [Omar] know directly that I had reflected on my previous remarks."
"Now as a strong Christian woman who values fait deeply, I never want anything I say to offend someone's religion," explained Boebert, who just a few days prior used the term "Jihad squad" to refer to Omar while on the House floor, at the same time resurfacing false claims about Omar's former husband.
Boebert said Omar "kept asking for a public apology" because Boebert's actions to that point weren't "good enough."
"So I told Ilhan Omar that she should make a public apology to the American people," Boebert said, before repeating vague descriptions about Omar's "anti-American ... rhetoric." They reached an impasse and Omar "hung up on me," Boebert said, then criticized Omar for "rejecting an apology."
Omar, in a written statement, said she took the call from 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."
According to Omar, Boebert "doubled down" and "refused to publicly acknowledge her hurtful and dangerous comments."
Said Omar: "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," she concluded.
Added Omar in a tweet later:
"There is only so much grace we can extend to others as humans before we must learn to cut our loses [sic] or hang up on someone in this case. 🤷🏽♀️"