Republican congresswoman Lauren Boebert has released a video saying she phoned Democrat Ilhan Omar to discuss her “jihad squad” slur against the Democrat – and that Ms Omar hung up on her when she told her she was the one who should be apologising.
Ms Boebert sparked outrage after telling supporters a story about being in an elevator with Ms Omar, one of only two Muslim women in Congress, and supposedly saying to a US Capitol police officer “well, she doesn’t have a backpack, we should be fine”.
She added: “So we only had one floor to go. I said, ‘Oh look, the jihad squad decided to show up for work today’.”
In response, Ms Omar called Ms Boebert a “buffoon” who “looks down when she sees me at the Capitol.”
Ms Boebert later tweeted a rare apology but on Monday, spoke in an Instagram video saying she had spoken to Rep Omar.
“She said she still wanted a public apology because what I had done wasn’t good enough,” she said. “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.”
Ms Boebert then said that Ms Omar hung up on her.
“Hanging up on someone is part of cancel culture 101 and a pillar of the Democrat party” Ms Boebert said.
Ms Omar released a statement shortly thereafter saying she hoped to receive a public apology from the right-wing Republican.
“Instead of apologising for her Islamophobic comments and fabricated lies, Rep Boebert refused to publicly acknowledge her hurtful and dangerous comments,” she said. “She instead doubled down on her rhetoric and I decided to end the unproductive call.”
Ms Omar said she believed in engaging in dialogue with people who disagree respectfully but not engaging with people who peddle in hate.
“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,” she said.
Ms Omar also condemned House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy for allowing rhetoric like Ms Boebert’s to flourish.
“This is not about one hateful statement or one politician; it is about a party that has mainstreamed bigotry and hatred. It is time for Republican Leader McCarthy to actually hold his party accountable,” she said.
Ms Boebert’s video and Ms Omar’s response is the latest example of Republicans’ pointed rhetoric about Democrats and Democrats wanting consequences for them.
Earlier this month, the House censured Rep Paul Gosar and stripped him of his committee assignments, with every Democrat voting to do so and all but two Republicans voting against it. The vote came after Mr Gosar tweeted a doctored anime video showing a character with his head killing a giant with Rep Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s head.
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