Massachusetts Representative Ayanna Pressley and other House Democrats on Wednesday introduced a resolution to strip Representative Lauren Boebert of her committee assignments in response to Boebert’s Islamophobic comments about Muslim Representative Ilhan Omar of Minnesota.
The push for the resolution comes after a video surfaced in which Boebert made a series of anti-Muslim comments directed at Omar, and later refused to offer a public apology to the Minnesota lawmaker.
“Today we stand in solidarity with the broader Muslim community,” Pressley said during a press conference discussing the resolution on Wednesday. “For a member of Congress to repeatedly and unapologetically use hateful, racist, and Islamophobic tropes towards a Muslim colleague is dangerous. This sort of toxic behavior has no place in the halls of Congress, and it diminishes the honor of the institution that we all serve in.”
Pressley, who was flanked by other representatives who joined the resolution, said that when Democrats asked Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to hold the Colorado Republican accountable, “we were met with defiance and gaslighting.”
“Enough is enough,” Pressley said. “Each day that passes without meaningful accountability, we risk normalizing this behavior and endangering the lives of our Muslim colleagues, Muslim staff, and every Muslim who calls this country home.”
“It’s heartbreaking that we have to be here,” Bowman said during the press conference, adding that it seems like “every week” Democrats are condemning Republicans who “behave in ways that are unbecoming and unacceptable not just for members of Congress but for anyone in any work place across this country and around the world.”
“We cannot normalize this rhetoric, this language, anti-Muslim hate, Islamophobia, racism, sexism, and discrimination in any form,” Bowman continued. “If leadership does not act accordingly, we are condoning that behavior not just here in Congress, but we are sending the message across the country and around the world that anti-Muslim hate is OK, that Islamophobia is OK, and it is not OK. This is about simple decency.”
Pressley also referenced an open letter signed by Muslim congressional staffers who are “calling for accountability.”
The letter, NBC reported, was signed by more than 400 aides, 50 of whom are Muslim, who said Boebert’s comments have “heightened the climate of Islamophobia on the Hill, creating a feeling of anxiety and fear for many Muslim staff, our families, and communities, and leaving many of us to look to our congressional leaders for support.”
Pressley and dozens of other House members had previously called for Boebert to be removed from her committee assignments, saying Boebert “has repeatedly weaponized dangerous, anti-Muslim bigotry at our colleague Representative Ilhan Omar.”
They also called out McCarthy for his “decision to allow and embolden continued hostility from his members.”
Pressley is leading the resolution along with Representatives Jamaal Bowman of New York, Cori Bush of Missouri, Judy Chu of California, Jesús “Chuy” García of Illinois, Jimmy Gomez of California, Pramila Jayapal of Washington, Barbara Lee of California, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, and Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida.
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.” Omar said on Nov. 25 that the story was “made up” and the following day called on both McCarthy and Speaker Nancy Pelosi to “take appropriate action.”
After sending a tweet on Nov. 26 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, antisemitic, anti-police rhetoric,” Boebert said in a video she tweeted on Nov. 29.
Globe Correspondent Jeremy C. Fox and Shannon Larson of the Globe Staff contributed to this report.