Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., apologized Friday after video emerged of her suggesting that fellow Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., was mistaken for a terrorist in an elevator both were riding in the U.S. Capitol.
Omar, who is Muslim and wears a hijab, immediately criticized the video Thursday as “bigotry,” adding that Boebert’s description of the two members of Congress riding an elevator together never occurred.
Boebert, who is known for incendiary rhetoric, appeared in the video to be addressing a group of supporters as she launched into what she said was a “jihad squad” moment at the U.S. Capitol.
Boebert said she and a staffer were in an open elevator and noticed an alarmed Capitol police officer sprinting for the door as it closed.
“What’s happening? I look to my left, and there she is: Ilhan Omar,” Boebert said. “And I said, well, she doesn’t have a backpack, we should be fine.”
Boebert’s audience can be heard on the video clapping and cheering in approval before she continued her anti-Muslim riff. “So we only had one floor to go,” Boebert added. “I said, ‘Oh look, the jihad squad decided to show up for work today.’”
In a Friday afternoon tweet, Boebert expressed regret for her remarks.
“I apologize to anyone in the Muslim community I offended with my comment about Rep. Omar,” Boebert wrote. “I have reached out to her office to speak with her directly. There are plenty of policy differences to focus on without this unnecessary distraction.”
Omar, the first Somali American elected to Congress, responded on Twitter late Thursday, after the video had gone viral and received several million views.
“Fact, this buffoon looks down when she sees me at the Capitol, this whole story is made up,” Omar wrote. “Sad she thinks bigotry gets her clout.”
“Anti-Muslim bigotry isn’t funny & shouldn’t be normalized,” she added. “Congress can’t be a place where hateful and dangerous Muslims tropes get no condemnation.”
Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., also condemned the video on Twitter, writing that it will lead to more threats of violence against Omar.
“The continued silence & inaction towards this hate-filled colleague and others is enabling violence. It must stop,” Tlaib wrote.
The video of Boebert speaking was posted on a Twitter account named “Patriot Takes” that is run by a liberal group that seeks to publish embarrassing video of pro-Trump conservatives. Earlier this month, a video from the group went viral showing a large church congregation in Texas chanting an anti-President Joe Biden slogan.
The Boebert video is the latest in a string of aggressive and provocative attacks that GOP members of Congress have launched against their colleagues.
Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., was censured by the Democratic-led House this month over an anime video he posted that depicted him killing Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and assaulting Biden. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., recently called Republicans who voted for Biden’s infrastructure bill “traitors” and posted their phone numbers on Twitter, leading to a death threat against Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich.
Boebert used the “jihad squad” phrase recently, during a debate over censuring Gosar. The phrase stereotypically conjures images of a holy war while playing off the “Squad” nickname that Omar, Ocasio-Cortez, Tlaib and other progressives have embraced for themselves.