Congresswoman apologizes for implying Ilhan Omar was a terrorist

Lauren Boebert had joked about not seeing a backpack on the progressive Minnesotan, referring to how suicide bombers carry their explosives in an attack.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Congresswoman Lauren Boebert apologized Friday for calling fellow lawmaker Ilhan Omar a possible Moslem terrorist.

“I apologize to anyone in the Muslim community I offended with my comment about Rep. Omar,” the Republican representative of Colorado’s third district tweeted. “I have reached out to her office to speak with her directly. There are plenty of policy differences to focus on without this unnecessary distraction.”

Boebert, a staunch Trumpist Republican, had made a joke seemingly about a week ago where she appeared to compare Omar, a Minnesotan Democrat known for her anti-Israel and antisemitic views, to a suicide bomber.

At a small gathering, standing in front of the American flag, the very casually dressed lawmaker said that she had been on an elevator in the Capitol and a saw police officer unsuccessfully try to catch the doors before they closed. To the laughter of her audience, she said, “I look to my left, and there she is, Ilhan Omar. And I say to myself, ‘Well, she doesn’t have a backpack, we should be fine.’”

Suicide bombers have often carried explosives in backpacks or strapped to their bodies. Boebert has made anti-Moslem remarks in the past, including calling the small, extremely progressive group of Democratic Representatives that Omar leads “the Jihad Squad.” She repeated the moniker at this event as well.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and other Democratic leaders had said that they had found the comment “deeply concerning.” Omar herself blasted Boebert, calling her a “buffoon” who had invented the story, and demanding that both Pelosi and Republican Congressional head Rep. Kevin McCarthy discipline the freshman lawmaker for a comment she said put her life in danger.

“Saying I am a suicide bomber is no laughing matter,” she tweeted. “GOP Leader and Speaker Pelosi need to take appropriate action, normalizing this bigotry no only endangers my life but the lives of all Muslim. Anti-Muslim bigotry has no place in Congress.”

The group that uploaded the clip, Patriot Takes, calls itself an organization that exposes right-wing extremism and its “disinformation machine.” It demanded that Boebert be stripped of all her committee assignments. Progressive political action committee MoveOn called the joke “Islamophobic comments” that “are not just appalling and outrageous, but dangerous,” and demanded “accountability.”