Last week, video emerged of fascist Republican lawmaker Lauren Boebert making racist death threats and “jokingly” accusing Democratic Representative Ilhan Omar of Minnesota of being a terrorist, prompting widespread outrage on social media along with calls from Democratic party-aligned organizations to censure and strip Boebert of her committee assignments.
In the video, posted by the Twitter account PatriotTakes, Boebert is shown recounting a false story in which describes a “Jihad Squad moment,” with Omar on an elevator.
“I was getting into an elevator with one of my staffers,” recounted Boebert. “You know, we’re leaving the Capitol and we’re going back to my office and we get an elevator and I see a Capitol police officer running to the elevator. I see fret all over his face, and he’s reaching, and the door’s shutting, like I can’t open it, like what’s happening. I look to my left, and there she is. Ilhan Omar. And I said, ‘Well, she doesn’t have a backpack, we should be fine.’”
Backing Boebert’s comments this past Friday was Pueblo County Republican chairman Robert Leverington, revealing the widespread acceptance of racist and backwards attitudes in the Republican Party. He told local news station KRDO, “I think that Congresswoman Boebert probably expressed the sentiment of many Americans,” he continued. “This Congresswoman Omar has been poking her finger in the eyes of many Americans over the last couple of years, and we’re sick of it.”
Replying to Boebert’s racist and dangerous incitement, Omar posted on Twitter that Boebert was a “buffoon” and that the “whole story is made up. Sad she thinks bigotry gets her clout.”
“Anti-Muslim bigotry isn’t funny & shouldn’t be normalized,” she wrote. “Congress can’t be a place where hateful and dangerous Muslims (sic) tropes get no condemnation.” On Friday, Omar called for Boebert to be reprimanded by House leaders. “Saying I am a suicide bomber is no laughing matter,” wrote Omar.
“@GOPLeader and @SpeakerPelosi” tagging Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, “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.”
In the same appearance, Boebert repeated elements of the Wuhan lab fascist conspiracy theory, s aying “the American people” are being “punished” by a [Dr. Anthony] “Fauci-funded Chinese virus.”
This is not the first time Boebert, who voted to overturn the election of Democrat Joe Biden following President Donald Trump’s attempted coup on January 6, has used the phrase “Jihad Squad” to incite her racist and backward supporters against Democratic Party targets.
The phrase “Jihad Squad” is a re-branding by Republicans such as Boebert and Georgia lawmaker Marjorie Taylor Greene, of “The Squad” moniker, adopted by so-called “progressive” congressional representatives of the Democratic Party, including Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Representative Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, all elected in 2018. They were joined in 2020 by Jamaal Bowman of New York and Representative Cori Bush of Missouri. All but Omar and Pressley are members of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA).
Boebert referred to Omar as “The Jihad Squad member from Minnesota,” who is “allowed on the Foreign Affairs Committee while praising terrorists” during her speech on the floor of the House of Representatives on November 17 opposing the censure of fascist Arizona Representative Paul Gosar for tweeting out an anime video featuring him killing Ocasio-Cortez and attacking Biden with swords.
Less than a week later, on November 23, Boebert used the phrase again, referring this time to the other Muslim member of Congress besides Omar, Michigan Representative Rashida Tlaib, as “one of the lesser relevant Jihad Squad members.”
At the same campaign event, Boebert spoke in support to Trump’s attempted coup and his claim that Biden is an illegitimate usurper. Boebert, who was photographed in 2019 on the steps of the Colorado Capitol building with Three Percenter militia members, recounted a recent visit to Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort: “I was sitting in his [Trump’s] office in Florida ... the new White House.”
When a supporter in the crowd called it “the real White House” a smiling Boebert, gestured to the person who commented and said, approvingly, “That’s where everybody seems to be ...”
The normalization of death threats by Republicans against Democratic politicians following Trump’s attempted coup on January 6 underscores the transformation of the Republican Party into an openly fascist party with a paramilitary wing, supplemented by right-wing militias like the Oath Keepers, Proud Boys and Three Percenters and their supporters in the police-military-intelligence apparatus.
As Trump-aligned Republicans, backed by billionaires, lob death threats and vow “retribution” against Democrats for censuring Gosar and stripping Marjorie Taylor Greene of her committee assignments earlier this year after she called for the assassination of Democratic politicians, Pelosi and the rest of the Democratic leadership sent out a letter this past Friday calling on McCarthy to “address” and “take real action” to “condemn inflammatory and bigoted rhetoric from members of their conference.”
“This language and behavior are far beneath the standard of integrity, dignity and decency with which the Constitution and our constituents require that we act in the House,” wrote the Democrats. “We call upon Congresswoman Boebert to fully retract these comments and refrain from making similar ones going forward.”
This meek letter is indicative of the response of the Biden and the Democratic Party as a whole following Trump’s attempted coup. Instead of loudly warning the working class of the ongoing threat to democratic rights and the imminent danger of military dictatorship, the Democrats call on the same forces responsible for elevating and protecting Trump to prosecute one of his most prominent supporters. As with previous attempts by Democrats to call on the would-be dictator’s political lackeys to “do the right thing,” this latest half-hearted plea by the Democratic leadership will go by unheeded.
That the Democrats are incapable of defending democratic rights continues to be borne out by the inaction of the January 6 cover-up committee, supposedly tasked with “getting to the bottom” of how the attack on Congress came to be.
To date, the committee has held only one hearing, which featured the testimony of front-line cops, and has yet to subpoena a single member of Congress implicated in the attack on the Capitol. This includes Boebert, who tweeted out the position of Speaker Pelosi on January 6 as it was under siege by Trump supporters even after being told by Capitol Police officers not to. Following the attack in January, Boebert and Arizona representative Andy Biggs were caught attempting to bring guns into the House chamber by a recently-installed metal detector.
While over 200 witnesses are allegedly cooperating with Select Committee, senior-level advisers to Trump, such as the fascist Steve Bannon and Trump’s former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, are defying subpoenas to appear for testimony or submit documentation.
On a Sunday appearance of “State of the Union” with CNN’s Dana Bash, Select Committee member Adam Schiff would not commit on whether the committee would seek to hold Meadows in criminal contempt for refusing to comply with their subpoena. His appearance on the show took place under conditions of a self-imposed “spring” deadline looming and the distinct possibility that Republicans will retake the House in the 2022 midterms and shut down the committee’s activities.
“I think we will probably make a decision this week on our course of conduct with that particular witness and maybe others,” said Schiff. In contrast to the Watergate hearings, which led ultimately to President Richard Nixon’s resignation from office—which were broadcast across network television for months—in the process warning and educating the working class, Schiff told Bash he could not, “go into ... what communication that we’re having or haven’t had with particular witnesses…”
Schiff added that he, “can’t go into the evidence that we have gathered, but I will say this, I think among the most important questions that we’re investigating is the complete role of the former president.”
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