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Colorado’s Democratic members of Congress blast Lauren Boebert, but stop short of calling for censure

The Republican members of Colorado’s U.S. House delegation have not commented on Boebert’s anti-Muslim remarks

Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., puts on a mask after a reminder from House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., during a House Judiciary Committee oversight hearing of the Department of Justice on Thursday, Oct. 21, 2021, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (Greg Nash/Pool via AP)
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The four Democratic members of Colorado’s congressional delegation lambasted Republican U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert for making anti-Muslim remarks but are so far stopping short of calling for Boebert to be censured or lose her committee posts. 

The two other Republicans in the delegation have not commented on Boebert’s remarks.

The Colorado Sun asked the four Democratic members Monday if Boebert should be censured or lose her committee positions. Here’s what they said:

  • “Congresswoman Boebert’s behavior is unbecoming of the office and deeply offensive to Coloradans, who understand that the diversity of communities across our state is our greatest strength,” said U.S. Rep. Jason Crow, D-Centennial. “I have never been shy about calling out the congresswoman’s long and consistent history of hateful behavior, but the silence from our colleagues across the aisle is deafening. Bigotry should never be a normalized part of our political discourse.”
  • “Rep. Boebert’s comments were offensive and reprehensible, and (U.S. House Minority Kevin) McCarthy’s refusal to condemn such inflammatory rhetoric from members of his caucus and take appropriate action is a failure of leadership,” said U.S. Rep. Joe Neguse, D-Lafayette.
  • “I think Rep. Boebert’s comments were extremely inappropriate and hurtful,” said U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter, D-Arvada. “Given the serious nature of her comments, I continue to call on the House Republican caucus to take action when their members express hateful and disturbing rhetoric or sentiments. Anything of the sort should not be tolerated.”
  • “It’s clear from her latest comments that Rep. Boebert is now spiraling out of control,” said U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Denver. “With all the serious issues facing this country, the last thing any of us should be focused on is her childish, hate-filled rhetoric – but her latest remarks leave us no choice.”

The offices of Colorado Republican U.S. Reps. Ken Buck and Doug Lamborn also did not respond to The Sun when asked to comment on Boebert’s remarks.

The Colorado GOP declined to comment.

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The Colorado Democratic Party’s spokesman, David Pourshoushtari, said: “We would call on the Colorado Republican Party and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to disavow these despicable comments from Congresswoman Boebert, but we know they won’t say a thing.”

Republican U.S. Reps. Paul Gosar of Arizona and Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia lost their committee assignments because of their past comments and actions. Gosar, who posted an animated video that depicted him killing Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez with a sword, was also censured.

Boebert, who lives in Garfield County, has been facing intense criticism since a video was posted online last week showing her speaking at an event and describing an interaction with Minnesota Democratic U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar.

In the video, Boebert claims that a Capitol Police officer approached her with “fret on his face” shortly before she stepped aboard a House elevator and the doors closed.

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“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,’” Boebert says with a laugh.

Boebert’s comment about Omar not wearing a backpack was an apparent reference to her not carrying a suicide bomb. Boebert also called Omar a member of the “jihad squad.”

Omar maintains the interaction never happened. Boebert was filmed telling a different version of the story on at least one other occasion. 

Boebert initially took steps to respond. Last week, she apologized “to anyone in the Muslim community I offended,” but not directly to Omar.

Then, after declining to apologize directly to Omar during a tense phone call Monday, which Omar abruptly ended, Boebert again went on the attack.

“Rejecting an apology and hanging up on someone is part of cancel culture 101 and a pillar of the Democrat Party,” Boebert said in an Instagram video.

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On Tuesday, during a news conference, Omar played a death threat recently left for her by voicemail, while imploring House Republican leaders to do more to tamp down “anti-Muslim hatred” in their ranks and “hold those who perpetuate it accountable.”

Omar, one of only a handful of Muslim members of Congress, has been the subject of repeated attacks by conservative pundits and some Republicans in Congress, which she says have led to an increase in the number of death threats she receives. 

“When a sitting member of Congress calls a colleague a member of the ‘jihad squad’ and falsifies a story to suggest I will blow up the Capitol, it is not just an attack on me but on millions of American Muslims across the country,” Omar said during the news conference Tuesday. “We cannot pretend this hate speech from leading politicians doesn’t have real consequences.”

FILE – In this April 20, 2021, file photo Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., speaks in Brooklyn Center, Minn., during a news conference at the site of the fatal shooting of Daunte Wright by a police officer during a traffic stop. Colorado Republican Rep. Lauren Boebert apologized Friday, Nov. 26, for using anti-Muslim language in describing a recent encounter she had with Omar. In her apology, Boebert didn’t address Omar’s criticism that Boebert made up her story about the encounter at the U.S. Capitol. (AP Photo/Morry Gash, File)

Then Omar played the voicemail, laden with profanity, racial epithets and a threat to “take you off the face of the (expletive) earth,” which she said was among hundreds of such messages she has reported since joining Congress. Omar said the voicemail was left for her after Boebert released another video on Monday attacking her.

In the grainy recording, a man can be heard saying, “You will not be living much longer, b——” while promising that “we the people are rising up.” He also calls Omar a “traitor” and pledges that she will stand trial before a military tribunal.

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Omar then concluded, “It is time for the Republican Party to actually do something to confront anti-Muslim hatred in its ranks and hold those who perpetuate it accountable.”

Boebert’s incendiary remarks are just the latest example of a GOP lawmaker making a personal attack against another member of Congress in a trend that has gone largely unchecked by House Republican leaders.

Omar has called on McCarthy to “take appropriate action.” But so far McCarthy, who is in line to become House speaker if Republicans retake the majority next year, has proven reluctant to police members of his caucus whose views are often closely aligned with the party’s base.

The Boebert situation has led to a feud in the U.S. House Republican caucus between U.S. Reps. Nancy Mace, of South Carolina, and Marjorie Taylor Greene, of Georgia. Mace has been critical of Boebert while Greene has defended the Colorado congresswoman.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations is calling on Boebert to be censured. ”Failing to do so would signal that Islamophobia is an acceptable form of bigotry in the halls of Congress,” CAIR Director of Government Affairs Robert McCaw said in a written statement.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, a Maryland lawmaker who is the No. 2 Democrat in the House, said Democrats are considering how to move forward. “We’re considering what action ought to be taken,” Hoyer told reporters during a call on Tuesday, according to Axios

Hoyer said there had not been “significant discussion” about it over the weekend, Axios reported.

Neguse’s office said that the House Democratic Caucus will meet in the coming days to finalize a path forward to ensure accountability for Boebert and that Neguse will participate in those discussions. 

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Rep. Andre Carson, D-Ind., who is also Muslim, said he is working with Democratic leadership on a House resolution that could address the issue.

So far, McCarthy is taking Boebert’s side.

When asked Tuesday what he would do if Democrats tried to censure Boebert, McCarthy said: “After she apologized personally and publicly? I’d vote against it.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

UPDATE: This story was updated at 3:24 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021, with comment from U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette.