Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) slammed House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy on Sunday, calling the top Republican a “liar” and “coward” for refusing to condemn the Islamophobic attacks made by Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO).
In an apparent attempt to downplay the increasingly inflammatory rhetoric coming from the most extreme members of his caucus, McCarthy last week defended Boebert after video clips surfaced of the Colorado lawmaker likening Omar to a terrorist suicide bomber while mocking her Muslim faith.
“She apologized publicly, she apologized personally,” McCarthy told reporters, referencing the far-right congresswoman’s tweet in which she said she’s sorry to “anyone in the Muslim community I offended.” At the same time, Boebert has refused to directly apologize to Omar in public.
Appearing on Sunday’s broadcast of CNN’s State of the Union, Omar addressed Boebert’s remarks, the lack of condemnation from GOP leadership, and the congresswoman doubling down on her bigoted attacks.
“It’s shocking and unacceptable,” Omar told anchor Jake Tapper. “It’s very unbecoming of a congresswoman to use that kind of derogatory, dangerous, inciting language against a colleague. Many of us thought post-9/11 that we were on the mend.”
Tapper then turned to McCarthy’s defense of Boebert. Despite the minority leader insisting that Boebert wanted to “personally apologize” to Omar during their recent phone call, both Boebert and Omar have acknowledged that the Muslim congresswoman hung up after Boebert refused to apologize directly and instead demanded that Omar apologize for her “anti-American” stance.
“To be clear, after her conversation with you, Boebert went on social media and doubled down and said things that were equally incendiary,” the CNN anchor observed. “What’s your reaction to McCarthy and how he described it?”
“McCarthy is a liar and a coward,” Omar exclaimed. “He doesn’t have the ability to condemn the kind of bigoted Islamaphobia and anti-Muslim rhetoric being trafficked by a member of his caucus.”
Asked why the Republican leader doesn’t have the ability to do that, the Omar said it was because “this is who they are.” Additionally, Omar said it was imperative to “push them to reckon” with the fact that the GOP is “normalizing anti-Muslim bigotry.”
Late last month, Omar called on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to “take appropriate action” against Boebert. Asked on Sunday whether she thinks the speaker will strip the right-wing lawmaker of her committee assignments, Omar said she’s “very confident” Pelosi will take “decisive action” next week.
Finally, after playing audio of a chilling death threat that Omar recently received, Tapper wondered aloud how many similar threats have come her way in the wake of Boebert’s “jihad squad” attacks.
“We receive too many to count,” Omar responded. “There’s a general fear that I have, my staff has, and the community at large has.”
She added: “Words matter. Words can cause violence. She knows that the language that she’s using—the audience that she’s using it for is going to incite violence against myself and my community.”