Christian Republican Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado defended herself as a “strong Christian woman” who never wants to “offend someone’s religion” on Monday, hours after a botched attempt to apologize to Democrat Muslim Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota for suggesting in a viral video that the hijab-wearing politician could be a suicide bomber.
“This isn’t about religion. It is about horrible, failed Democrat policies, and anti-Americanism that I will call out each and every time I hear it,” Boebert insisted in a video statement posted on Twitter after explaining how she tried and failed to apologize to Omar for the video posted online on Thanksgiving.
In the initial video that offended Omar and the Muslim community, Boebert recounted a story to a Colorado audience about how she once shared an elevator with Omar. She said she saw a U.S. Capitol Police officer with a panicked look on his face running toward her as the elevator was closing. Then, she said, "I looked to my left and there she is: Ilhan Omar. And I said, 'Well, she doesn't have a backpack — we should be OK.'"
Boebert also referred to Omar as a member of the "jihad squad."
After backlash over the comments, Boebert said she reached out to Omar’s team on Friday to apologize but they didn’t get a chance to connect until Monday by telephone. During their conversation, Omar insisted on a public apology from Boebert which was resisted, prompting the Democrat to end the call abruptly.
“I wanted to let her know directly that I have reflected on my previous remarks. Now, as a strong Christian woman who values faith deeply, I never want anything I say to offend someone’s religion, so I told her that. Even after I put out a public statement to that effect, she said that she still wanted a public apology because what I had done wasn’t good enough,” Boebert said.
“I reiterated to her what I had just said. She kept asking for a public apology, so I told Ilhan Omar that she should make a public apology to the American people for her anti-American, anti-Semitic, anti-police rhetoric,” the freshman Republican congresswoman said.
Some of the anti-Semitic remarks made by Omar include her criticisms of Israel which led to the House passing a resolution condemning "anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, racism and other forms of bigotry" in March 2019. It was the second time the House had voted on a resolution denouncing hate speech in response to offensive comments made by Omar.
Bobert added: “She continued to press and I continued to press back and then Rep. 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. 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."
In Omar's statement about the call with Boebert, she dismissed Boebert’s elevator story as “fabricated lies” and accused her of “outright bigotry and hate.”
“Today, I graciously accepted a call from Rep. Lauren Boebert 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. She instead doubled down on her rhetoric and I decided to end the unproductive call,” Omar said. “I believe in engaging with those we disagree with respectfully, but not when that disagreement is rooted in outright bigotry and hate.”
She further accused the Republican Party leadership of doing “nothing” to hold members of their party 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,” Omar said. “It is time for Republican Leader McCarthy to actually hold his party accountable.”