Ocasio-Cortez: ‘Embarrassment’ that Boebert punishment is delayed
Members of the liberal “squad” lashed out at Democratic leaders on Tuesday for dragging their feet in punishing Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) for her Islamophobic comments directed at a Muslim House colleague.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) moved swiftly earlier in the year to discipline Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) and Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) for promoting violent rhetoric and imagery against Democratic lawmakers. But after Boebert suggested that Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), one of three Muslims in Congress, poses a threat of terrorist violence because of her faith, Democratic leaders have been approaching the explosive episode more cautiously.
The circumspection is increasingly agitating Omar’s liberal allies, who are calling at the very least for party leaders to strip Boebert of her committee seats like they did with Greene and Gosar. And the frustration is bubbling up as the days remaining to act before the long holiday recess grow scarce.
“I haven’t heard anything binding from leadership, which in and of itself is an embarrassment,” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) told The Hill on Tuesday night. “This shouldn’t take this long; this should not drag on. It’s pretty simple. It doesn’t have to be a big huge thing. It’s pretty open and closed.”
Ocasio-Cortez rejected the idea, floated by some Democrats, of a broader resolution condemning Islamophobia, one that does not specifically target Boebert.
“She needs to be held accountable for her actions,” said Ocasio-Cortez, who, along with other members of the squad, wants Boebert booted off her House committees.
Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.), another member of the squad, said failing to act against Boebert would send a horrible message to Americans, particularly Muslim Americans.
“If nothing happens, it means we’re accepting anti-Muslim hate in Congress and we’re accepting and condoning anti-Muslim hate across the country,” Bowman told The Hill. “So if nothing happens, that’s the message we are sending, which is why we have to continue to push to have her removed from committee.”
Some Democrats have warned that to punish Boebert would, once again, allow House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) off the hook given that he has vowed to do nothing about his fellow Republican.
“This is not about him. This is about leadership and about our moral center in the country,” said Bowman, a former middle school principal.
“We have the majority in the House. We are elected to lead, and we must do so,” he added.
Six days ago, Pelosi suggested she was ready to act, telling House Democrats that they could not allow such “indecent” remarks from Boebert to stand.
But asked Tuesday what she plans to do about Boebert, Pelosi responded tersely, “Why don’t you go ask the Republicans?”
She then scolded a reporter from The Hill for asking such a question, saying Democrats were busy working to raise the debt ceiling.
Omar, who has been bombarded with death threats since Boebert’s comments, took a more measured approach to the issue Tuesday night, saying that leadership is “still working things out.”
“I have a commitment that something will get done,” said Omar, who met with Pelosi last week.
Rep. André Carson (D-Ind.), a Muslim American like Omar, has taken the lead on the liberals’ effort to negotiate a resolution to discipline Boebert. As recently as last Thursday, Carson said he was in talks with Pelosi aides about how to proceed. He had provided the Speaker with some options, he said, and her office has offered some of its own.
But on Tuesday he appeared less optimistic that anything significant would reach the floor.
“We’re waiting to hear back from leadership and the Ethics Committee,” he said. “Fingers crossed.”
Copyright 2023 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.