(The Hill) – Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) clashed in what both described as a tense phone call on Monday after video surfaced of the far-right lawmaker making Islamophobic remarks about her colleague.
The two lawmakers issued separate statements after the phone call making clear that neither found the conversation to be helpful in settling their differences.
“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,” Omar said in a statement.
“She instead doubled down on her rhetoric and I decided to end the unproductive call,” Omar added. “I believe in engaging with those we disagree with respectfully, but not when that disagreement is rooted in outright bigotry and hate.”
Boebert, meanwhile, expressed frustration in a video posted to Instagram that Omar felt the initial public apology “wasn’t good enough.”
“I wanted to let her know directly that I had reflected on my previous remarks. Now, as a strong Christian woman who values faith deeply, I never want anything I say to offend someone’s religion. So I told her that. Even after I put out a public statement to that effect. She said that she still wanted a public apology because what I had done wasn’t good enough,” Boebert said.
Boebert went on to attack Omar for her past criticisms of Israel and calls to dismantle the Minneapolis Police Department following the death of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, while he was under arrest.
“She kept asking for a public apology. So I told Ilhan Omar that she should make a public apology to the American people for her anti-American, antisemitic, anti-police rhetoric. She continued to press, and I continued to press back. And then Rep. Omar hung up on me. Rejecting an apology and hanging up on someone is part of cancel culture 101 and a pillar of the Democrat Party,” Boebert continued.
Boebert then doubled down on an Islamophobic trope by suggesting Omar sympathizes with terrorists.
“Make no mistake, I will continue to fearlessly put America first, never sympathizing with terrorists. Unfortunately, Ilhan can’t say the same thing. And our country is worse off for it,” Boebert said.
The controversy involving the two lawmakers began after a video surfaced over Thanksgiving weekend of Boebert saying that she and a staffer were getting on a Capitol elevator when she saw a Capitol Police officer racing toward them.
She then turned and saw Omar standing nearby. “I said, ‘Well, she doesn’t have a backpack. We should be fine,’” Boebert recalled, drawing laughs from the audience. “And I said, ‘Oh, look. The jihad squad decided to show up for work today.’”
After Omar, one of the first Muslim women elected to Congress, and Democratic leaders condemned the remarks as Islamophobic for suggesting that the progressive lawmaker could be a terrorist, Boebert issued a public apology and said she had reached out to Omar’s office to speak with her directly.
Boebert’s latest attacks on Omar come after Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), another prominent far-right House Republican, tweeted over the weekend that Omar and “the Jihad Squad” — referring to a group of other progressive congresswomen of color — “are undeserving of an apology.”
“Never apologize to Islamic terrorist sympathizers, communists, or those who fund murder with our tax dollars,” Greene tweeted.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), meanwhile, said in a statement that he spoke with Boebert on Friday and that she had apologized for her comments.
McCarthy also said that he spoke with House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) to help coordinate a meeting between Omar and Boebert “so that Congress can get back to talking to each other and working on the challenges facing the American people.”