Pelosi, Key Dems Slam McCarthy for GOP's 'Bigoted Rhetoric' After Boebert's Omar Remarks

Kevin McCarthy Nancy Pelosi Boebert Omar Congress
House Democratic leadership including Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) denounced Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and GOP leadership for failing to denounce "bigoted rhetoric" from Representative Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) on Friday. McCarthy is pictured during a news conference at the Capitol in Washington, D.C., on June 13, 2019. Chip Somodevilla/Getty

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and four other key House Democrats have admonished House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) over "bigoted rhetoric" from Republicans, focusing on epithets hurled by Representative Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) at Representative Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.).

Pelosi, Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.), Assistant House Speaker Katherine Clark (D-Mass.), Democratic Caucus Chair Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) and Caucus Vice Chair Pete Aguilar (D-Calif.) issued the joint statement blasting GOP leadership on Friday. The group targeted recent "Islamophobic comments" from Boebert (R-Colo.), who has recently referred to Omar as a member of the "Jihad Squad" on multiple occasions.

"Racism and bigotry of any form, including Islamophobia, must always be called out, confronted and condemned in any place it is found," the statement from the Democrats asserted. "This is particularly true in the halls of Congress, which are the very heart of our democracy. Congresswoman Boebert's repeated, ongoing and targeted Islamophobic comments and actions against another Member of Congress, Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, are both deeply offensive and concerning."

"Leader McCarthy and the entire House Republican Leadership's repeated failure to condemn inflammatory and bigoted rhetoric from members of their conference is outrageous," the statement continued. "We call on the Republican Leadership to address this priority with the Congresswoman and to finally take real action to confront racism."

McCarthy was also ripped this week by Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), a prominent member of the far-right wing of the Republican Party. Greene suggested that McCarthy was not conservative enough to retain GOP leadership if the party takes control of the House during next year's midterms, while lamenting that he had not worked hard enough to shield loyalists to former President Donald Trump from criticism.

Newsweek reached out to McCarthy's office for comment.

Boebert has been heavily criticized since referring to Omar, who is a Muslim, as a "Jihad Squad" member last week during a House hearing on censuring Representative Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) for posting online an anime video showing him killing Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) with a sword. Both Omar and Ocasio-Cortez are members of the collection of progressive lawmakers known as "the Squad."

The Republican congresswoman provoked more backlash by repeating the phrase in a video posted online on Thanksgiving, while also suggesting that members of the Capitol police do not need to fear Omar as long as she is not carrying "a backpack." Boebert offered an apology "to anyone in the Muslim community I offended with my comment about Rep. Omar" on Twitter Friday, while insisting that criticism of her remarks were a "distraction."

"Saying I am a suicide bomber is no laughing matter," Omar tweeted after Boebert issued her apology tweet. "@GOPLeader and @SpeakerPelosi need to take appropriate action, normalizing this bigotry not only endangers my life but the lives of all Muslims. Anti-Muslim bigotry has no place in Congress."

Also on Friday, Representative Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) took to Twitter to lash out at Boebert as "TRASH" and called McCarthy a "living example of what happens when you try to hug a skunk."