Rep. Boebert apologizes for joking that a Muslim member of Congress is a terrorist

Hart Van Denburg/CPR News
GOP businesswoman Lauren Boebert, running for Congress in Colorado’s 3rd District, stopped by her campaign headquarters, and Shooter’s, the restaurant she owns in Rifle, on Thursday, Aug. 20, 2020. Campaign volunteers looked at the offices.

Western Slope Representative Lauren Boebert is apologizing for comments she made about Minnesota Representative Ilhan Omar, suggesting the Muslim congresswoman could potentially be a suicide bomber.

To the laughing audience at a recent event, the Garfield County Republican described being on an elevator at the Capitol when she saw a police officer running toward the doors with a look of fear.

"I looked to my left and there she is: Ilhan Omar. And I said, 'well, she does not have a backpack, we should be okay.'"

A video of the comments was first circulated by a Twitter account that says it is "dedicated to exposing right wing extremism." It said the event occurred during the Thanksgiving break but did not provide further details.

During the anecdote, Boebert also again used the slur "Jihad squad" to refer to Omar and other congresswomen of color. Boebert earlier used the phrase during a floor speech defending Rep. Paul Gosar for posting an animated video that depicted him killing Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

A day after the video became public, Boebert tweeted out an apology and said she had reached out to Omar's office.

On Friday, House Democratic leaders released a statement criticizing Boebert's remarks and demanding Republican leaders address them with her.

"Congresswoman Boebert's repeated, ongoing and targeted Islamophobic comments and actions against another member of Congress, Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, are both deeply offensive and concerning," the statement reads. "We call on Congresswoman Boebert to fully retract these comments and refrain from making similar ones going forward."

For her part, Omar said on Twitter that the interaction Boebert described never happened, and that the Colorado congresswoman avoids her in the Capitol.

"Saying I am a suicide bomber is no laughing matter," Omar wrote in a second Tweet, calling on House leadership to take "appropriate action" against Boebert; "normalizing this bigotry not only endangers my life but the lives of all Muslims. Anti-Muslim bigotry has no place in Congress."

Editor's Note: This story has been updated with the statement from House Democratic leadership.