House Democrats seem intent on milking Rep. Lauren Boebert’s (R-CO) comments about Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) for all they are worth. It has been about two weeks since Boebert made her asinine “Jihad Squad” comments about Omar and other members of “the Squad.” It has been quite a while since she also made that stupid joke about Omar being a suicide bomber.
Yet, House Democrats are still trying to have her stripped of her committee assignments and censured just as they did with Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA). Despite the fact that Democratic leaders like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) have attempted to alleviate their emotional wounds by promising a vote on an anti-Islamophobia bill, they are still out for blood.
Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) said these overtures are “not enough” and that they “have a responsibility to act; and we’re going to continue to push leadership to do just that.”
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Boebert, by contrast, did not explicitly advertise violence against Omar. But her suggestion that the Minnesota Democrat, one of only three Muslim lawmakers in Congress, poses a danger of terrorist violence has been followed by death threats against the Somali refugee. Those, in turn, are fueling the liberal campaign to yank Boebert from her committee assignments.
Pelosi denounced Boebert’s remarks but has resisted calls to strip her of her committee assignments. “Instead, she’s scheduled a vote on another bill, sponsored by Omar, creating a special State Department office charged with identifying and confronting anti-Muslim violence around the globe, including any state-sponsored campaigns deemed to fit that category,” according to The Hill.
Bowman responded by arguing that prioritizing the legislation “should have been done months ago.”
Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) told The Hill: “It’s not ‘or.’ It’s ‘and.'” She continued:
“We have to address the hate that’s being trafficked within the halls of Congress, in addition to doing that work globally.”
“She should be stripped of her committees,” the lawmaker added. “If we do not have that accountability, we only embolden this kind of hate.”
However, Democratic leaders are not too keen on punishing Boebert in the same way they did with Greene and Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ).
From The Hill:
Party leaders are concerned, aides and lawmakers said, that doing so would make her a martyr in the eyes of GOP’s conservative base, expanding the reach of her anti-Muslim message and boosting her ability to raise money on the campaign trail.
There are also lingering Democratic concerns that GOP leaders will retaliate by stripping Democrats from committee posts, if Republicans win back control of the House after next year’s midterms.
Democrats are also seeking to pressure House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) to punish Boebert, as the GOP did with former Iowa Rep. Steve King in 2019.
It is interesting that Democrats fear that when the GOP retakes the House in the midterm elections – which is very likely to happen – they will give the same treatment to their lawmakers who have also made offensive and controversial remarks. As I argued previously, this is precisely what Republicans should do when they are back in power.
Democrats broke tradition when they unilaterally voted to remove Greene from her committees. However, they did not have this same energy when folks like Omar, Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) have made offensive remarks.
Indeed, AOC recently posted a tweet slamming McCarthy and smearing Republican lawmakers as members of the KKK. She wrote:
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 woc members of Congress.
This cannot be ignored.
This tweet is every bit as bigoted as referring to Omar as a suicide bomber because of her religion. Casting white men who happen to disagree with her as members of the KKK is no different from what Boebert did – and we can best believe Democratic leadership hasn’t said a word to her about it.
So yes, once the GOP retakes the House, they better grow a pair and give as good as they get. It is the only tactic that might get Democrats to reconsider next time they wish to take this course of action. If they know it will happen to them when their opposition is in power, they might be hesitant to continue along this vein.