Lauren Boebert apologizes to Muslims for Ilhan Omar’s comment and calls it a ‘distraction’

Colorado Republican congresswoman Lauren Boebert on Friday issued an apology to the Muslim community for the recent comments she has made about Democratic Representative Ilhan Omar from Minnesota.

Boebert referred to his Democratic counterpart as a member of the “Jihad Squad” during a discussion on the no-confidence motion by other Representative Paul Gosar of Arizona earlier this month. Boebert received further criticism this week after a video surfaced in which she discussed driving in an elevator with Omar.

In the video, Boebert said the House’s discussion ahead of Gosar’s no confidence vote was “not my first Jihad Squad moment.” She went on to say she saw Omar as she entered an elevator with a member of her staff as a Capitol police officer rushed toward the elevator’s closing doors.

“I look to my left and there she is: Ilhan Omar,” Boebert said in the video. “And I said, ‘Well, she does not have a backpack. We should be fine.'”

Omar called Boebert a “hassle” while answering Thursday to a clip of the video that was shared on social media, saying Boebert’s “whole story is fabricated.”

“Anti-Muslim bigotry is not fun and should not be normalized,” Omar tweeted. “Congress can not be a place where hateful and dangerous Muslim troops get no condemnation.”

Representative Cori Bush of Missouri as well tweeted a clip of the shared video and wrote: “Capitol Hill is a toxic work environment for Muslim members and staff when bigots routinely vomit racist, Islamophobic vitriol uncontrollably and without consequence.”

Bush tagged Omar in his tweet, adding, “we love you and we pray for your well-being and protection from this despicable abuse.”

Lauren Boebert Ilhan Omar
U.S. Representative Lauren Boebert, a Colorado Republican, on Friday posted an apology on Twitter to the Muslim community for the recent comments she has made about Representative Ilhan Omar of Minnesota. Above, Boebert awaits the start of a press conference in front of the US Capitol Building on July 1 in Washington, DC
Alex Wong / Getty Images

Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois joined the Democrats in criticizing Boebert’s comments Friday. He also shared a link to the video circulating on social media and wrote: “Boebert is TRASH.” Kinzinger retweeted later a post by Marina Zimmerman identifying herself as a “conservative” challenging Boebert in Colorado’s primary election in the GOP next year. In the tweet, Zimmerman urged Coloradans to support her campaign. “Help me take the garbage out,” she wrote.

On Friday, Boebert tweeted an apology, saying she had contacted Omar’s office “to speak to her directly.”

“I apologize to anyone in the Muslim community I insulted with my comment about Rep. Omar,” Boebert’s tweet said. Her message ended by saying, “There are lots of political differences to focus on without this unnecessary distraction.”

About an hour after Boebert’s tweeted apology, Omar urged party leaders in the House to “take appropriate action” in a tweet having said that, “normalizing this bigotry is endangering not only my life but the lives of all Muslims.”

“To say I’m a suicide bomber is no laughing matter,” Omar wrote.

Newsweek contacted Omar’s office for a comment.

This story has been updated with further information and background.

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