AOC accuses McCarthy of tolerating 'his Ku Klux Klan caucus' because he's desperate to be House Speaker

Close up images of Rep. Kevin McCarthy and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez side by side.
Rep. Kevin McCarthy; Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images; J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo
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  • AOC suggested McCarthy tolerates Republican bigotry because he's "desperate" to be House Speaker.

  • AOC referred to House Republicans as the "Ku Klux Klan caucus."

  • McCarthy has not explicitly condemned Lauren Boebert over Islamophobic comments toward Ilhan Omar.

Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Wednesday accused House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of tolerating violent threats against women of color in Congress because of his political ambitions.

The New York Democrat referred to House Republicans as the "Ku Klux Klan caucus," suggesting that McCarthy tolerates bigotry among GOP members because he wants to be House Speaker.

Ocasio-Cortez was responding to a tweet featuring a video of Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota discussing a death threat she received following recent Islamophobic attacks from GOP Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado. Omar, who is one of the first two Muslim women members of Congress in US history, has faced numerous death threats during her time as a lawmaker.

"People truly don't understand the scale, intensity, & volume of threats targeting @IlhanMN. Kevin McCarthy is so desperate to be speaker that he is working with his Ku Klux Klan caucus to look aside & allow violent targeting of [women of color] members of Congress. This cannot be ignored," Ocasio-Cortez said.

"While people toss out clichés like 'we condemn all forms of racism & bigotry,' the fact is Islamophobia is far too often tolerated and ignored," she added. "Bigotry is not made unacceptable by what one says about it, it's made acceptable based on whether there are consequences for it or not."

Ocasio-Cortez said that the GOP has been given "freedom to incite" without consequences. "They don't have to pay for the security required from their acts — we do. They make money off it," she said, adding that Republicans target "those least likely to be institutionally protected first."

McCarthy's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Insider.

Some Democrats have called for Boebert to be stripped of her commitee assignments over remarks she's made toward Omar, including implying that the Minnesota Democrat is a terrorist because she's Muslim. Among other things, Boebert said Omar is part of a "jihad squad."

McCarthy has not explicitly condemned Boebert over her remarks.

Boebert, for her part, apologized to the Muslim community in a tweet last Friday. The House GOP leader and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer worked together to facilitate a call between the Colorado Republican and Omar, but it didn't go well. Omar hung up on Boebert.

Omar said Boebert "refused to publicly acknowledge her hurtful and dangerous comments," adding that she "instead doubled down on her rhetoric and I decided to end the unproductive call."

"To date, the Republican Party leadership has done nothing to condemn and hold their own members accountable for repeated instances of anti-Muslim hate and harassment," Omar went on to say. "This is not about one hateful statement or one politician; it is about a party that has mainstreamed bigotry and hatred. It is time for Republican Leader McCarthy to actually hold his party accountable."

In an Instagram video posted after the call on Monday, Boebert said she told Omar that as a "strong Christian woman who values faith deeply, I never want anything I say to offend someone's religion."

"She said that she still wanted a public apology because what I had done wasn't good enough," Boebert added. "She kept asking for a public apology, so I told Ilhan Omar that she should make a public apology to the American people for her anti-American, anti-Semitic, anti-police rhetoric."

A schism has emerged in the GOP over Boebert's anti-Muslim comments. After Republican Rep. Nancy Mace of South Carolina rebuked Boebert, GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene called Mace "the trash in the GOP Conference." This prompted a back and forth on Twitter.

GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, who is not seeking reelection in 2022, has also criticized McCarthy over his refusal to explicitly condemn Boebert and other far right-leaning Republicans.

"@GOPLeader continues his silent streak that would make a monk blush," Kinzinger said in a tweet.

Read the original article on Business Insider