Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) called Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) on Monday after Boebert was caught on video likening the Minnesota congresswoman to a terrorist. The conversation went about as well as you’d expect.
The video of Boebert made the rounds on social media over the holiday weekend, drawing condemnation from Democrats and even a Republican or two. In the footage, Boebert claims that she and Omar, who is Muslim, were sharing an elevator in the Capitol when a police officer approached them. Then comes the bigoted punchline: “I look to my left, and there she is, Ilhan Omar. I said, ‘Well she doesn’t have a backpack, we should be fine.’”
Last Friday, Boebert issued a kinda-sorta apology via tweet, noting that she’d reached out to Omar’s office to speak with her directly. That conversation—which House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy claims to have helped facilitate—took place today, but, according to both Boebert and Omar, it only made things worse.
Omar’s and Boebert’s accounts of what happened don’t really differ. According to public statements issued by the two congresswomen, Omar pressed Boebert to make a public apology for her comments, only for Boebert to demand that Omar make a public apology to the American people for “anti-American, anti-Semitic, anti-police rhetoric.”
This led Omar to end the call. “I believe in engaging with those we disagree with respectfully, but not when that disagreement is rooted in outright bigotry and hate,” she wrote in a public statement, calling on McCarthy to hold members of his party accountable for mainstreaming anti-Muslim harassment.
In an Instagram video posted after the call, Boebert returned to voicing the racist tropes that had gotten her in trouble in the first place, implying that Omar sympathized with terrorists. Boebert also claimed, ridiculously, that Omar had “cancelled” her by ending the call. “Rejecting an apology and hanging up on someone is part of cancel culture 101,” she fumed.
What’s surprising about this sorry affair isn’t that Boebert doubled down on her Islamophobic rhetoric, but that she ever expressed even an ounce of contrition. At the same event where she implied Omar was a terrorist, Boebert also made homophobic comments about Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, saying that he was trying to “chest feed” the twins he recently adopted. She’s yet to apologize for those remarks.