Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has lashed out at Nancy Pelosi for failing to take action against Lauren Boebert, who suggested that Ilhan Omar — one of only three Muslims in Congress — poses a threat of terrorism because of her faith.
“I haven’t heard anything binding from leadership, which in and of itself is an embarrassment,” Ms Ocasio-Cortez said. “This shouldn’t take this long; this should not drag on. It’s pretty simple. It doesn’t have to be a big huge thing. It’s pretty open and closed.”
Several members of the Democratic Party criticised Speaker Pelosi for not taking any action against Ms Boebert after she called Ms Omar part of “the jihad squad”.
Ms Boebert “needs to be held accountable for her actions”, Ms Ocasio-Cortez said, according to The Hill.
In a video clip that went viral on social media ahead of Thanksgiving, Ms Boebert narrated an alleged incident in which she was in an elevator at the Capitol building.
“I was getting into an elevator with one of my staffers and he and I, we are leaving the Capitol, we are going back to my office. And I see a Capitol police officer running hurriedly to the elevator. I see sweat all over his face. And he’s reaching as the door is shutting. I can’t open it. What’s happening,” the Republican leader said.
“I look to my left and there she is: Ilhan Omar. And I say ‘well she doesn’t have a backpack. We should be fine’,” Ms Boebert added, as the crowd cheered. “So we only had one floor to go... so I said ‘Oh look, the Jihad squad decided to show up for work today’.”
Rep Omar, the first Somali American elected to Congress, responded to the video after it spread across social media. She said the whole story was made up and added: “Anti-Muslim bigotry isn’t funny [and] shouldn’t be normalised. Congress can’t be a place where hateful and dangerous Muslims tropes get no condemnation.”
Several liberal leaders want the far-right Republican Colorado representative censured and taken off her House committee assignments.
Ms Pelosi was asked on Wednesday at her weekly press conference whether she would be following through with the pledge she apparently gave Ms Omar to see the Republican congresswoman face real consequences for her actions.
“I’ll announce that when I’m ready to announce it,” Ms Pelosi told reporters, while reiterating that the media should focus on questioning why Republicans were unwilling or unable to discipline their own members.
The Republican no. 2 in the House, Rep Steve Scalise, addressed the controversy as well at his own presser. He dodged a question about whether the comments were “wrong”, and instead repeated false claims about Democrats being unwilling to offer similar apologies or discipline their members for offensive statements.
Meanwhile, Ms Omar has said that she has been receiving death threats since Ms Boebert’s Islamophobic attack. The leadership was “still working things out” about action against Ms Boebert, she said, adding: “I have a commitment that something will get done.”
Democrat André Carson met with Ms Pelosi’s aides last week to discuss how to discipline Ms Boebert. He had said that the speaker had some ideas and some options she was considering. But on Tuesday, he said: “We’re waiting to hear back from leadership and the Ethics Committee. Fingers crossed.”
Another Democrat, Rep Jamaal Bowman, said that failure to take action against Ms Boebert would send a “horrible message to Americans, particularly Muslim Americans.”
“If nothing happens, it means we’re accepting anti-Muslim hate in Congress and we’re accepting and condoning anti-Muslim hate across the country,” he said. “So if nothing happens, that’s the message we are sending, which is why we have to continue to push to have her removed from the committee.”
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