Pelosi denounces faith-based attacks on Omar as 'indecent' and 'dangerous'

·7 min read
Pelosi denounces faith-based attacks on Omar as 'indecent' and 'dangerous'

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Wednesday that GOP Rep. Lauren Boebert's faith-based attacks on Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar, who is Muslim, are "indecent" and "dangerous" and suggested it is a publicity ploy.

"To see a member of Congress attacking another member is not a good thing. Right? Under any circumstance. Whether it's ethnic, generational, gender, or gender ID, whatever. But to see the supposed people of faith denouncing other people's faith...it's indecent. It's indecent," Pelosi said to House Democrats during a closed-door meeting, according to a source familiar with her remarks.

"So, this is hard because these people are doing it for the publicity. There's a judgment that has to be made about how we contribute to their fundraising and their publicity on how obnoxious and disgusting they can be. But I do think it has to be clear that there is no place for that," Pelosi said.

"These people do not respect the House that they serve in. We have to make sure that the public understands that we do," Pelosi said.

MORE: Rep. Lauren Boebert refuses to publicly apologize to Rep. Ilhan Omar for anti-Muslim remark

In a video posted to Twitter last week, Boebert referred to Omar as a member of the "Jihad Squad" and claimed that a Capitol Police officer thought she was a suicide bomber in an encounter in an elevator on Capitol Hill.

Boebert apologized on Twitter Friday "to anyone in the Muslim community I offended," adding that she had reached out to Omar's office to speak with her directly, but the phone call did not go well.

Omar hung up on Boebert after the Colorado Republican refused to make a public apology to her, according to a statement from Omar and Boebert's account of the call.

Democratic leadership is now figuring out how to respond to Boebert's anti-Muslim attacks, though Pelosi noted in her remarks Wednesday that there are "different views" among the caucus regarding the appropriate response.

PHOTO: Rep. Rashida Tlaib speaks next to Rep. Andre Carson and Rep. Ilhan Omar during a news conference addressing the anti-Muslim comments made by Rep. Lauren Boebert towards Omar, on Capitol Hill, Nov. 30, 2021. (Elizabeth Frantz/Reuters)
PHOTO: Rep. Rashida Tlaib speaks next to Rep. Andre Carson and Rep. Ilhan Omar during a news conference addressing the anti-Muslim comments made by Rep. Lauren Boebert towards Omar, on Capitol Hill, Nov. 30, 2021. (Elizabeth Frantz/Reuters)

A senior Democratic aide confirmed to ABC News that House leadership discussed a possible resolution condemning Islamophobia but didn't make any decisions during a meeting Tuesday night.

Other options could include possibly censuring Boebert and stripping her of her committee assignments.

MORE: Rep. Lauren Boebert issues apology for anti-Muslim remarks about Rep. Ilhan Omar

Late last month, the House voted to censure GOP Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona over a video he tweeted depicting violence against Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez and President Joe Biden. He was also removed from his committee assignments.

Earlier this year, House Democrats also voted to remove GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene from her committee assignments over her violent social media posts aimed at Democrats.

During a press conference Wednesday, House Democratic caucus chairman Hakeem Jeffries accused the Republican Party of having a "total meltdown," and he pummeled Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy over his inability to reign in warring members.

"Republicans are having a complete and total meltdown. Attacking each other. 'Liar,' 'clown,' 'trash,' grifter,' 'nuts,'" Jeffries said, using some of the terms GOP Reps. Greene and Nancy Mace have flung at each other in the last 24 hours.

Greene and Mace are publicly feuding after Mace condemned Boebert for making the anti-Muslim remarks. Greene then denounced Mace for having criticized Boebert.

McCarthy met separately with both Greene and Mace late Tuesday night at the Capitol and told them both to stop the public feuding, according to sources familiar with the conversations.

McCarthy has not publicly commented on the matter, nor has he publicly rebuked Boebert for her bigoted attack on Omar.

ABC News requested comment from Mace and Greene, but neither of them immediately replied.

PHOTO: Rep. Ilhan Omar plays a voicemail containing a death threat during a news conference about Islamophobia on Capitol Hill, Nov. 30, 2021. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
PHOTO: Rep. Ilhan Omar plays a voicemail containing a death threat during a news conference about Islamophobia on Capitol Hill, Nov. 30, 2021. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

"What happened to the kinder and gentler Republican Party? It doesn't exist. They are having a complete and total meltdown," Jeffries said.

"The so-called leader has no control over what's happening, and the American people are hurt as a result," he said of McCarthy.

"It would be nice if we had a functional party on the other side of the aisle that could focus on the economy, on inflation, on the problems of the American people, but instead, they're focused on attacking each other and trying to prove loyalty to the cult. Shame on them. It's a disgrace over there," he added.

"What more does Kevin McCarthy need to see? What more does this guy really need to see?" Jeffries said.

ABC News has reached out to McCarthy's office for comment but has not heard back.

Democratic Reps. Omar, Rashida Tlaib and Andre Carson forcefully condemned Boebert's anti-Muslim remarks late Tuesday night.

Omar, Tlaib and Carson are the only three Muslims in Congress.

"We may only be three among hundreds serving in Congress, but we are strong advocates that won't shy away in demanding better for our communities. No one deserves to feel hate or racism solely based on one's faith. It's completely unacceptable," Tlaib said.

A shaken Omar spoke of her difficult experiences as a Muslim American -- from the person who told her she would never be elected to Congress for wearing a hijab, to the bigoted reception she received from some Republican members when she was first elected.

"So, when a sitting member of Congress calls a colleague a member of the "jihad squad" and falsifies a story to suggest that I will blow up the Capitol, it is not just attack on me, but on millions of American Muslims across this country," Omar said of Boebert.

"We cannot pretend that this hate speech from leading politicians doesn't have real consequences," Omar said Tuesday. "The truth is that anti-Muslim hate is on the rise both here at home and around the world."

Omar said she has received "hundreds" of death threats often triggered by Republican attacks.

She held up her phone to the mics and played out a disturbingly graphic voicemail she received from an unidentified male just hours after she got off the phone with Boebert on Monday -- highlighting the types of threats she said she regularly receives.

The man made several racist and bigoted remarks about Omar, and also threatened her life.

"Condemning this should not be a partisan issue," Omar said. "This is about our basic humanity and fundamental rights of religious freedom enshrined in our Constitution. Yet, while some members of the Republican Party have condemned this, to date, the Republican Party leadership has done nothing to hold their members accountable."

Omar said she wants "appropriate action" taken against Boebert but will leave it to leadership to decide what that means. She did not seem keen on the idea of a resolution that would condemn Islamophobia, noting that it's been done before.

"This kind of hateful rhetoric and actions cannot go without punishment. There has to be accountability," she said.

PHOTO: Rep. Jamaal Bowman  embraces Rep. Ilhan Omar as they leave a news conference about Islamophobia on Capitol Hill, Nov. 30, 2021. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
PHOTO: Rep. Jamaal Bowman embraces Rep. Ilhan Omar as they leave a news conference about Islamophobia on Capitol Hill, Nov. 30, 2021. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Jeffries said there are "active discussions" underway to make sure Boebert is held accountable.

"We're continuing to have discussions -- leadership, House Democratic Caucus -- to make sure that we support our colleague, because clearly, this type of dangerous rhetoric is endangering Ilhan Omar and it endangers other members of this Congress," Jeffries said.

"We needed to act as it related to the situation with Paul Gosar and we needed to act as it related to the situation with Marjorie Taylor Greene and we're going to need to make sure that Lauren Boebert is held accountable for her hatred, for her bigotry, for her Islamophobia and for jeopardizing the health and safety and wellbeing of a fellow member of Congress," Jeffries said.

ABC News' Benjamin Siegel contributed to this report.

Pelosi denounces faith-based attacks on Omar as 'indecent' and 'dangerous' originally appeared on abcnews.go.com

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