As Democratic leaders weigh potential punitive action against Rep. Lauren BoebertLauren BoebertGOP Reps. Greene, Clyde accrue nearly 0K in combined mask fines Rand Paul cancels DirecTV subscription after it drops OAN Top House Democrat pushes for 'isolation boxes' for maskless lawmakers MORE (R-Colo.) for her recent Islamophobic remarks, Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiJoining Pelosi, Hoyer says lawmakers should be free to trade stocks Budowsky: To Dems: Run against the do-nothing GOP, Senate Momentum builds to prohibit lawmakers from trading stocks MORE (D-Calif.) suggested Wednesday that one option is off the table: doing nothing.
"These people do not respect the House that they serve in. We have to make sure that the public understands that we do," Pelosi told House Democrats during a closed-door meeting in the basement of the Capitol.
Democratic leaders have been so far cautious in their approach to the uproar over Boebert, who drew widespread criticism in recent days after suggesting to constituents that Rep. Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarSenate needs to confirm Deborah Lipstadt as antisemitism envoy — Now Overnight Defense & National Security — DOD watchdog to review extremism screening Omar calls for closure of Guantánamo Bay prison after 20 years of 'lawlessness and cruelty' MORE (D-Minn.), one of three Muslims in Congress, poses a threat of terrorist violence. The publicity surrounding the incident sparked death threats against Omar, a Somali refugee.
Pelosi and other Democratic leaders quickly issued a statement condemning Boebert's remarks in sharp terms, but they've stopped short of taking the same disciplinary action they applied to Reps. Marjorie Taylor GreeneMarjorie Taylor GreeneGOP efforts to downplay danger of Capitol riot increase The Memo: What now for anti-Trump Republicans? Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene says she's meeting with Trump 'soon' in Florida MORE (R-Ga.) and Paul GosarPaul Anthony GosarLawmakers coming under increased threats — sometimes from one another McCarthy says he'll strip Dems of committee slots if GOP wins House Should we expand the House of Representatives? The Founders thought so MORE (R-Ariz.), both of whom were stripped of their committee assignments this year for promoting violent rhetoric and imagery against Democratic lawmakers.
Instead, Democrats are pressing House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthyJoining Pelosi, Hoyer says lawmakers should be free to trade stocks Budowsky: To Dems: Run against the do-nothing GOP, Senate Overnight Defense & National Security — Texas hostage situation rattles nation MORE (R-Calif.) to sanction Boebert unilaterally. McCarthy has sought to ease the tensions privately but has not publicly condemned her bigoted remarks.
The silence from GOP leaders has been roundly attacked by Democrats, and even some Republicans, who are wondering what level of bigotry it would take to prompt a reprimand from the party leader.
"I'm pretty disgusted with the Republican leader for his silence, which, for me, equals complicity," said Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.). "I mean, where the hell is Kevin McCarthy? Does he have any regard for this institution?"
Boebert has defended her remarks, noting that she had issued an apology, via Twitter, "to anyone in the Muslim community I offended." She also called Omar on Monday, ostensibly to apologize directly, but instead asked Omar to apologize "for her anti-American, antisemitic, anti-police rhetoric."
"It's disheartening to see someone who hates America serving in the United States of Representatives," Boebert said Tuesday in an interview with Laura IngrahamLaura Anne IngrahamLaura Ingraham 'not saying' if she'd support Trump in 2024 Fox News tops ratings for coverage on Jan. 6 anniversary events Division reigns over Jan. 6 anniversary MORE of Fox News.
Democrats have a different view of American values. And Pelosi is pulling no punches in accusing Boebert of hypocrisy for leaning on her own faith to attack another's.
"To see the supposed people of faith denouncing other people's faith — this just can't be an acceptance of tolerance of any — it’s indecent. It’s indecent," Pelosi said.
Rep. Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibHouse Democrats inquire about possible census undercount in Detroit, other communities Michigan redistricting spat exposes competing interests in Democratic coalition Tlaib announces run in new Detroit district with Lawrence retiring MORE (D-Mich.), another Muslim lawmaker who is calling for "the fullest accountability" for Boebert's remarks, said she was encouraged that Pelosi had aired her own concerns in Wednesday's meeting.
"It was discussed overall — some of the concerns about allowing that kind of rhetoric to continue without any accountability. So that's a good sign that some action will be taken," Tlaib said.
What punishment the Democrats pursue — if any — remains to be seen.
Rep. André Carson (D-Ind.), Congress's third Muslim lawmaker, said Tuesday evening that he's talking with Democratic leaders about their options. And Rep. Hakeem JeffriesHakeem Sekou JeffriesClyburn says he's worried about losing House, 'losing this democracy' Inflation offers steep hike for Biden House Democratic conference postponed due to COVID-19 MORE (N.Y.), chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, suggested they could reach some decision before the end of the week — assuming GOP leaders don't act first.
"There are active discussions underway to make sure that Lauren Boebert is held accountable — particularly given the likelihood that we may not see any accountability coming from the ... other side of the aisle," Jeffries said. "But hope springs eternal, and we'll see what emerges over the next day or two."
One concern among the Democrats eyeing punitive measures for Boebert is that, in doing so, they would publicize her bigoted remarks, sparking a flood of donations from like-minded donors around the country.
"This is hard because these people are doing it for the publicity," Pelosi acknowledged Wednesday.
But a growing number of rank-and-file Democrats — including Omar, Carson and Tlaib — say the greater threat would be to sit by and do nothing.
"It's not an option to ignore it because it might help her raise money," Tlaib said Tuesday evening. "We can't be silent about it."