Rep. Ayanna Pressley said Rep. Lauren Boebert’s bigoted smear of Rep. Ilhan Omar has had ugly consequences for Muslims, and Boebert must face consequences, too.
December 12, 2021

Rep. Ayanna Pressley said Rep. Lauren Boebert’s bigoted smear of Rep. Ilhan Omar has had ugly consequences for Muslims, and Boebert must face consequences, too.

On Saturday, host Tiffany Cross asked Pressley if Congress shouldn’t do more to punish Boebert after her “joke” painting Omar as a suicide bomber was followed by bigoted death threats to Omar. Cross called the resolution cosigned by Pressley “a great move” but asked, “Is that the harshest thing that Congress can do?” Especially since Boebert ran on toting a gun in the Capitol.

Of course, the best thing would be for voters to fire Boebert next November. But Pressley said that removing Boebert from her committee assignments would send a strong and important message.

PRESSLEY: Well, I think the point here, Tiffany, is that words have consequences. Rep. Boebert trafficking hate, perpetuating Islamophobia, calling a colleague a suicide bomber has certainly had consequences for Rep. Omar, her family and for the Muslim staff on Capitol Hill. The hundreds who penned a letter to Democratic leadership, speaking to their own vulnerability and fear of that of their families and their communities. So those words have had consequences, Rep Boebert's words, hate words. And hate speech leads to hate violence.

So, if her words have had consequences for Rep. Omar, Rep. Omar’s family, Muslim staff, and the Muslim community writ large which, I might add, is a formidable voting bloc. They are all watching. And so there must be consequences for Rep. Boebert and there must be accountability. Otherwise we embolden the trafficking of hate and Islamophobia.

So she must be stripped of her committees. And I would not discredit the impact of that, Tiffany, because, you know, that is where so much of your power comes from being a member of Congress. But the point is we need to send a strong and strident message by stripping Rep. Boebert of her committees, that this is unacceptable. It's unconscionable. It is dangerous and we will not stand for it. And again, the Muslim community writ large, the world is watching. Congress needs to take this resolution up quickly for a vote.

Cross supported the move but she pointed out that if she or anyone else made such remarks about a colleague, they’d be fired immediately. But in Congress, there is no such safety net.

Pressley agreed. “This is not ‘or,’” she said, it’s “’and,’ so we should start there.”

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