As Democratic leaders think about how to punish Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colorado, for her Islamophobic comments towards Rep. Ilhan Omar (D.Minnesota), the number of Democrats calling for Boebert’s removal from her committee assignments is increasing.
Thursday saw 38 progressive lawmakers in Congress released a statementIn support of Boebert’s punishment. Led by Representatives Jamaal Bowman (D-New York), Cori Bush (D-Missouri), André Carson (D-Indiana) and Congressional Progressive Caucus chair Pramila Jayapal (D-Washington), the lawmakers decried Republican leaders’ tacit endorsement of hate speech against Omar and Muslims across the country.
Over past weeks, videos have emerged showing Boebert spewing animus toward Omar, implying that the progressive lawmaker is a terrorist and saying that she is part of the so-called “jihad squad,” a bigoted nickname for progressive lawmakers dubbed by Republicans.
The House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R.California), was criticized by the lawmakers for not speaking out on the matter. They pointed out that Boebert refused to apologise for her Islamophobic attacks.
“In the face of death threats and vitriol being spewed at Rep. Omar, Representative Kevin McCarthy (CA-23)’s decision to allow and embolden continued hostility from his members speaks clearly to the Republican party’s willingness to allow hate and division to grow at the expense of our people, our values, and our institutions,” the lawmakers wrote.
The progressives went on to say that they “refuse to stand by as Islamophobia, anti-Blackness, anti-immigrant sentiment, and xenophobia are trafficked into the halls of Congress by members of the Republican party.” Pursuing disciplinary action against Boebert, they said, is a crucial step towards accountability — not only to Omar and fellow members of Congress, but also to the Muslim community at large.
“Muslims across the country are looking to Congress at this moment, watching to see if those they sent to represent their interests in Washington are going to stand up in the face of blatant, vicious Islamophobia. We owe it to them… to stand up and show them that their votes to send us here mean something — that our values mean something, and are worth defending,” the statement concluded.
The 38 lawmakers include Representatives AyannaPressley (D-Massachusetts), and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, (D-New York). They are part of a growing coalition calling for Boebert’s discipline.
On Wednesday, leaders of five caucuses also led a call for Boebert’s removal from committees. Jayapal, Congressional Black Caucus Chairman Joyce Beatty(D-Ohio), Congressional Asian Pacific American Head Judy Chu (D–California), Congressional Equality Caucus Chairman David Cicilline [D-Rhode Island] and Congressional Hispanic Caucus President Raul Ruiz (“D-California”) joined that call.
“It should not be a partisan issue to condemn the explicit harassment and dangerous abuse of a colleague based on their religion, but this is the level to which the GOP leader and too many members of the Republican party have sunk,” the caucus chairs wrote.
House Majority Leader Steny Hogue (D-Maryland), was present earlier this week. told reporters that leaders are “considering what action ought to be taken.” But Democratic leaders have since been quiet about the issue, even as Hoyer acknowledged that the “jihad squad” phrase and other similar language by far-right representatives could “inflame the passions” of potentially violent actors.
Indeed, Omar has said that she received an uptick in death threats due to Boebert’s Islamophobic rhetoric. TuesdayThe Democrat shared a voicemail she received that appeared to be a direct result of Boebert’s comments being posted and shared online. Omar was threatened with her life by the caller, who used racial slurs as well as profanities against her.