In a statement Monday, Omar that it is time for McCarthy “to actually hold his party accountable.”
“I believe in engaging with those we disagree with respectfully, but not when that disagreement is rooted in outright bigotry and hate,” Omar said. “To date, the Republican Party leadership has done nothing to condemn and hold their own members accountable for repeated instances of anti-Muslim hate and harassment. This is not about one hateful statement or one politician; it is about a party that has mainstreamed bigotry and hatred.”
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) called on McCarthy and other Republican leaders to “condemn this bigotry and demand that Rep. Boebert immediately, clearly and publicly apologize.”
“If she once again refuses to do so, Speaker Pelosi and Leader Hoyer should move to censure her,” said CAIR’s director of government affairs, Robert McCaw, referring to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.). “Failing to do so would signal that Islamophobia is an acceptable form of bigotry in the halls of Congress.”
McCarthy’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
During an event last week in her Colorado district, Boebert told the audience that an encounter with Omar was “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 said the story was made up and 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.”
Boebert sent a tweet Friday in which she apologized “to anyone in the Muslim community I offended with my comment about Rep. Omar,” and she said she had contacted the congresswoman’s office to speak with her directly.
“There are plenty of policy differences to focus on without this unnecessary distraction,” Boebert said.
But during Monday’s phone call, Boebert again lashed out at Omar after the congresswoman asked her to publicly apologize.
“She said that she still wanted a public apology, because what I had done wasn’t good enough. . . . So I told Ilhan Omar that she should make a public apology to the American people for her anti-American, antisemitic, anti-police rhetoric,” Boebert said in a video she posted to Instagram after the phone call. “She continued to press, and I continued to press back. And then, Representative 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.”
At the beginning of the video, Boebert said that as “a strong Christian woman who values faith deeply, I never want anything I say to offend someone’s religion.”
But by the end of the video, Boebert was again making Islamophobic attacks on Omar.
“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.
In her statement on the exchange, Omar said she had accepted Boebert’s phone call “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. “She instead doubled down on her rhetoric. I decided to end the unproductive call.”
Earlier Monday, Omar tweeted a clip of a radio appearance in which Boebert responded to a question about Omar by mentioning “politicians with suicide belts strapped to their body.” It was not immediately clear when the program was recorded.
“It’s really unfortunate that we have United States representatives who are full-time propagandists for Hamas, for state-sponsored terrorism,” Boebert said on “The Joe Pags Show,” a conservative news radio program. “And you know, when I think about state-sponsored terrorism, I think about politicians with suicide belts strapped to their body, and it’s really unfortunate that we have politicians right here in America who support this same terrorism.”
The uproar over Boebert’s remarks about Omar erupted a little over a week after the House voted to censure another Republican, Rep. Paul A. Gosar (Ariz.), and remove him from his committee assignments for tweeting an animated video that depicted him killing Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and swinging swords at President Biden.
In February, the House also voted to strip Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) of her committee assignments for past extremist and racist remarks. Greene has aggressively confronted fellow lawmakers in the past, raising security concerns among some Democrats.
The incidents come amid growing worries about violent political rhetoric nearly 11 months after a mob of President Donald Trump’s supporters attacked the U.S. Capitol.
Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), who like Omar is a member of the quartet of Democratic congresswomen who have called themselves “the Squad,” urged Republican leaders to take action against Boebert.
“Doubling down on hateful & Islamophobic rhetoric is dangerous and only puts @Ilhan’s life and the lives of Muslims everywhere at risk,” Pressley tweeted. “@GOPLeader must stop normalizing this behavior within his caucus. Boebert must be held accountable for this racist & anti-Muslim harassment.”
Omar defended her decision to hang up on Boebert in a tweet Monday afternoon.
“There is only so much grace we can extend to others as humans before we must learn to cut our loses or hang up on someone in this case,” Omar said in response to a Fox News Channel story on the call.
Marianna Sotomayor, Adriana Usero and Amy B Wang contributed to this report.