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Rep. Ilhan Omar calls for ‘appropriate action’ to be taken against Rep. Lauren Boebert after she shared anti-Muslim story

In this July 29, 2021, photo, Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) speaks at a news conference held by members of the House Freedom Caucus on Capitol Hill. (Andrew Harnik/AP)

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) called for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) to take “appropriate action” against Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) Friday after Boebert shared an anti-Muslim story about Omar during Thanksgiving break.

During an event in her Colorado district, Boebert told the audience about an encounter with Omar in the Capitol, describing another encounter with Omar as “not my first ‘Jihad Squad’ moment,” according to a video posted on Twitter.

“I was getting into an elevator with one of my staffers,” Boebert told the laughing crowd. “You know, we’re leaving the Capitol and we’re going back to my office and we get an elevator and I see a Capitol police officer running to the elevator. I see fret all over his face, and he’s reaching, and the door’s shutting, like I can’t open it, like what’s happening. I look to my left, and there she is. Ilhan Omar. And I said, ‘Well, she doesn’t have a backpack, we should be fine.’ ”

On Twitter on Friday, Omar called for Boebert to be disciplined by House leaders.

“Saying I am a suicide bomber is no laughing matter,” Omar tweeted. “@GOPLeader and @SpeakerPelosi need to take appropriate action, normalizing this bigotry not only endangers my life but the lives of all Muslims. Anti-Muslim bigotry has no place in Congress.”

Omar had, earlier on Thursday, said the story was made up and called Boebert a “buffoon.”

“Anti-Muslim bigotry isn’t funny & shouldn’t be normalized,” Omar said on Twitter. “Congress can’t be a place where hateful and dangerous Muslims tropes get no condemnation.”

In a statement, Democratic congressional leaders — including Pelosi and House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (Md.) — said Boebert has repeatedly made targeted Islamophobic comments against Omar and she should retract her latest story, which they said is fictionalized.

“This language and behavior are far beneath the standard of integrity, dignity and decency with which the Constitution and our constituents require that we act in the House,” they said.

Democratic leadership also called on McCarthy to correct Boebert.

“Leader McCarthy and the entire House Republican Leadership’s repeated failure to condemn inflammatory and bigoted rhetoric from members of their conference is outrageous,” they said. “We call on the Republican Leadership to address this priority with the Congresswoman and to finally take real action to confront racism.”

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) on Nov. 18 signaled he would name Reps. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) and Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) to committees. (Video: The Washington Post)

On Friday, Boebert tweeted an apology, saying she had reached out to Omar.

“I apologize to anyone in the Muslim community I offended with my comment about Rep. Omar. I have reached out to her office to speak with her directly,” Boebert tweeted. “There are plenty of policy differences to focus on without this unnecessary distraction.”

Boebert’s apology came after her comments drew bipartisan criticism online, with Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) calling her “TRASH” on Twitter and retweeting a message in support of Boebert’s primary challenger, Marina Zimmerman.

Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) called Boebert’s comments “upsetting for many reasons.”

“Yes, it’s anti-Muslim, and [Omar] has a young child who will see this. Even worse, this slur will inspire more death threats to Ilhan and her family,” Swalwell tweeted. “[Boebert] should be held accountable but so too should @GOPLeader McCarthy who condones it.”

Spokesmen for Omar, Boebert and McCarthy did not immediately respond to requests for further comment on the episode.

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