Congresswoman Ilhan Omar (D-MN) called House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy “a liar and a coward” during a Sunday morning appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
Omar told anchor Jake Tapper that McCarthy — and other Republicans in leadership positions — had not done enough to condemn Congresswoman Lauren Boebert (R-CO) for comments that she said were anti-Muslim and could provoke extremists into taking dangerous or violent actions.
Tapper began with a recap of Boebert’s comments — a story she told claiming that, while standing in an elevator with Omar, she joked with security about how Omar probably was not a threat because she didn’t have a backpack. The obvious inference was that if Omar had been carrying a backpack, she might have been a suicide bomber.
“I want to start with those comments, Boebert comparing you to a terrorist suicide bomber,” Tapper said as he introduced Omar. “What is it like to hear that kind of blatant bigotry, coming from a fellow member of the House of Representatives?”
“It’s shocking and unacceptable. It’s very unbecoming of a congresswoman to use that kind of derogatory, dangerous, inciting language against a colleague,” Omar replied, saying that in the years since the 9//11 terror attacks, she had initially felt like America had made progress. “When I first won, I remember getting phone calls from across the world from heads of states and prime ministers and foreign ministers congratulating me because they thought America was past its sort of post 9/11 Islamaphobia. And to see this happen right now in the halls of Congress really is damaging not just to the Muslim community, to myself, but to the kind of country we want to be.”
Tapper went on to say that McCarthy had not condemned Boebert’s comments — but instead had said that Boebert had apologized both publicly and privately.
Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar calls House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy “a liar and a coward” for not publicly condemning GOP Rep. Lauren Boebert’s anti-Muslim comments about Omar. https://t.co/bpBmBU1anQ #CNNSOTU pic.twitter.com/1eXkETU3Cx
— State of the Union (@CNNSotu) December 5, 2021
“To be clear, after her conversation with you, Boebert went on social media and doubled down and said things that were equally incendiary. What’s your reaction to McCarthy and how he described it?”
“McCarthy is a liar and a coward. He doesn’t have the ability to condemn the kind of bigoted Islamaphobia and anti-Muslim –” Omar began, but Tapper interrupted.
“Why doesn’t he have the ability to do that?” he asked.
“This is who they are,” Omar said, going on to claim that the Republican Party was effectively “normalizing” anti-Muslim sentiment and bigotry.
Omar said that she expected House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to take action in the coming weeks, noting that she had spoken with her about the issue and that the Speaker had always lived up to her promises.
“I’ve had a conversation with the Speaker. I’m very confident that she will take decisive action next week. As you know, when I first got to Congress, I was worried that I wasn’t going to be allowed to be sworn in because there was a ban on the hijab. She promised me she would take care of it. She made another promise to me she will take care of this,” Omar said.
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