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Pressley, 37 other house members call for Boebert to be stripped of committee assignments

Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley speaks to the audience while attending the Puerto Rican Veterans Monument Square Association Veterans Day Celebration in the South End on Thursday.Erin Clark/Globe Staff

US Representative Ayanna Pressley and more than three dozen of her House colleagues called Thursday for Colorado Representative Lauren Boebert to be removed from her committee assignments following Boebert’s Islamophobic comments about Muslim Representative Ilhan Omar of Minnesota.

Pressley, a Dorchester Democrat, and Democratic Representatives Jamaal Bowman of New York, Cori Bush of Missouri, André Carson of Indiana, and Pramila Jayapal of Washington issued a statement co-signed by 33 House colleagues saying Boebert “has repeatedly weaponized dangerous, anti-Muslim bigotry at our colleague Representative Ilhan Omar.”

“Instead of apologizing, Rep. Boebert has continued her Islamophobic rhetoric and chosen to spread hateful speech even further,” they said in the statement.

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The signers also included Democratic representatives Lori Trahan of Lowell and Chellie Pingree of Maine.

The House members also called out Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California for his “decision to allow and embolden continued hostility from his members,” which they said “speaks clearly to the Republican party’s willingness to allow hate and division to grow at the expense of our people, our values, and our institutions.”

Boebert, who has attacked Omar for months, sparked the latest round of condemnation after a video surfaced in which she told an audience that while on a Capitol elevator with Omar, she remarked to a police officer: “Well, she doesn’t have a backpack. We should be fine,” the Globe previously reported. Omar said the story was “made up” and called on both McCarthy and Speaker Nancy Pelosi to “take appropriate action.”

After sending a tweet on Friday in which she apologized “to anyone in the Muslim community I offended with my comment about Rep. Omar,” Boebert reached out to Omar privately. But during the conversation, Boebert rebuffed Omar’s request for a public apology and instead demanded an apology from Omar and accused her of “anti-American, anti-Semitic, anti-police rhetoric,” Boebert said in a video she tweeted on Monday.

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The House members who issued the statement said they “refuse to stand by as Islamophobia, anti-Blackness, anti-immigrant sentiment, and xenophobia are trafficked into the halls of Congress by members of the Republican party.”

“Our response to behavior that creates a dangerous work environment and furthers a climate of toxicity and intolerance cannot be silence,” they said. “Congress cannot forgo accountability when a Member engages in hate speech that dehumanizes not only a colleague, but an entire people. We cannot be complicit as members of this body, who swore an oath to protect and defend the constitution of the United States, trample on the fundamental right of religious freedom.”

They said Muslims nationwide are “watching to see if those they sent to represent their interests in Washington are going to stand up in the face of blatant, vicious Islamophobia.”

“We owe it to them, and to every person who has been the recipient of harassment and verbal abuse based on their religion, race, gender, sexuality, or other identity, to stand up and show them that their votes to send us here mean something — that our values mean something, and are worth defending,” the House members said.

Shannon Larson of Globe staff contributed to the reporting of this article.


Jeremy C. Fox can be reached at jeremy.fox@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @jeremycfox.