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Representative Ayanna Pressley, a member of “The Squad” of progressive women of color who serve in the House of Representatives, has had enough of racism in Congress. She takes particular issue with recent comments from Representative Lauren Boebert (R-CO). Multiple videos recently surfaced showing Boebert brag about offensive anti-Muslim comments she made about Representative Ilhan Omar (D-MN).
Yesterday, Representative Pressley (D-Mass) introduced a resolution to remove Representative Boebert from all of her Congressional committee assignments. “Words have consequences,” Pressley said at a press conference announcing the measure. “We must acknowledge that and respond with action.”
Congresswoman’s racist comments set off firestorm
In November, Representative Boebert boasted that she was concerned about sharing an elevator ride with Representative Omar, who is Muslim.
“Well, she doesn’t have a backpack. We should be fine.” Boebert laughingly recalled joking to a fellow elevator passenger. The Colorado Republican’s implication was that Omar was likely a suicide bomber. When Omar arrived on the elevator, Boebert turned to her and called her a member of the “Jihad squad”.
As Republican leaders fail to act, Representative Pressley took it upon herself to address the Representative Boebert’s bigoted comments. Pressley noted she was doing so on behalf of all Muslims across the United States.
Representative Pressley hopes the resolution sends “a powerful message to every Muslim and every marginalized person who has ever questioned their place in this country, or in the halls of power.”
“We see you, you belong, you are powerful and you deserve a life free from fear, and filled with dignity and love,” Pressley said.
Many of her Democratic colleagues have support the measure.
Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) also spoke out against Boebert’s hateful rhetoric.
“Representative Boebert… needs to experience a consequence for her actions, whether she is seeking it out or not,” AOC said. “When we inconsistently apply consequences to bigotry, we invite more people to test these boundaries.”
Republican leaders refuse to act, even as Rep Omar receives death threats
Indeed, supporters of Boebert’s rhetoric have begun to test those boundaries. On December first, in a stunning press conference, Representative Omar played an audio recording of a death threat she received.
“Don’t worry, there are plenty who would love the opportunity to take you off the face of this f****** earth,” the caller continued according to Al Jazeera. “You will not live much longer b****, I can almost guarantee you that.”
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Cal) has received criticism for doing nothing about Representative Boebert’s offensive and racist comments. He noted that Representative Boebert apologized, but did not suggest any action against the Congressional member from Colorado.
Boebert, of course, has yet to apologize directly to Ilhan Omar. In a tense phone conversation with Omar, Boebert apologized for “anyone offended”. When Representative Omar requested a public apology, Boebert retorted by instead demanding Omar apologize for being “anti-American”. At that point, Omar ended the phone call.
Boebert’s comments part of larger pattern emerging from Congressional Republicans
Representative Boebert is the latest Congressional Republican who have promoted hate-filled rhetoric recently. Representative Marjorie Taylor-Greene (R-Ga) was also stripped of her committee positions earlier this year, following comments that were racist, anti-semitic, and anti-Muslim. Another Republican, Paul Gozart of Arizona, was censured in a bi-partisan vote after tweeting an anime video depicting him killing Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
According to NBC News, more than 400 Capitol Hill staffers have demanded congressional leadership take immediate action against Lauren Boebert.
If Representative Pressley’s resolution passes, Representative Boebert would be removed from her positions on the House Budget Committee and House Natural Resources Committee. Boebert has not yet commented on the resolution.