After a video surfaced of US Representative Lauren Boebert (R-CO) making racist and anti-Muslim remarks about Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, the Minnesota Democrat, André Carson and Rashida Tlaib—the three Muslim members in the House of Representatives—held a press conference calling on Republican leadership to punish Boebert and other Republicans using inflammatory language.
A video surfaced last week of Boebert at a campaign event suggesting Omar had been mistaken for a terrorist in an elevator at Capitol Hill, but that Boebert reassured a Capitol policeman that “she doesn’t have a backpack, we should be fine.”
Omar said Boebert’s story was fabricated, that the incident never happened, and called her a “buffoon” on Twitter.
During a phone call organized by the Democratic and Republican leadership Monday, Boebert escalated her denunciations of Omar after the Democrat demanded a public apology, which the Republican refused.
After the call, Boebert doubled down on her fascist rhetoric, tweeting, “I will fearlessly continue to put America first, never sympathizing with terrorists. Unfortunately, Ilhan can’t say the same thing and our country is worse off for it.”
At the press conference Tuesday, Omar declared, “We cannot pretend that this hate speech from leading politicians doesn’t have real consequences.” She played the recording of a threatening voice mail, in which a male voice said, “You’re all about taking over our country. Don’t worry, there’s plenty that will love the opportunity to take you off the face of this f---ing earth. Come get it. But you f---ing Muslim piece of shit. You jihadist. We know what you are. You’re a f---ing traitor. You will not live much longer.”
The caller was echoing the language of Boebert, who has repeatedly referred to the Minnesota Democrat as a member of the “jihad squad,” a term she has used on many occasions to smear Muslim and left-liberal members of Congress as terrorists.
Omar said she has received and reported hundreds of death threats, with the number rising after Republican attacks on her Muslim faith. “This kind of hateful rhetoric and actions cannot go without punishment. There has to be accountability,” she said. “If and when the Republican conference fails to do so, it is going to be our job to do that.”
In the course of Tuesday, another fascist Republican representative, Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, echoed Boebert’s anti-Muslim diatribes. Appearing on former Trump White House aide Stephen Bannon’s “War Room” podcast, Greene denounced Omar for her criticism of Israeli repression of the Palestinian people.
“She hates Israel,” Greene said. “She’s pro-Hamas. She’s pro-al Qaeda. She’s basically an apologist for Islamic terrorists. There is no need to apologize to that woman because she will never stop. She’s bloodthirsty. She wants Republicans completely taken out. She wants Republicans jailed. She does not care about our country. She’s anti-American.”
Greene went on to denounce another Republican, who criticized Boebert’s attack on Omar in a television interview. Representative Nancy Mace of South Carolina, who won her seat in 2020, ousting a one-term Democrat, said, “I have time after time condemned my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for racist tropes and remarks that I find disgusting, and this is no different than any others.”
Greene called Mace “trash,” leading a chorus of fascist Republicans in attacking Mace. Florida Republican Matt Gaetz, perhaps the most servile Trump enthusiast in Congress, tweeted that Mace was a “scam artist” because she supported vaccination for COVID-19.
Mace replied on Fox Business, telling an interviewer, “Marjorie Taylor Greene is a liar. And I’m not going to tolerate lies, racism or bigotry, whether you are Republican or Democrat … She’s crazy. She’s insane. She’s bad for the party. And I’m not going to put up with it.”
The intensity of the name-calling and recriminations, not only between the two capitalist parties but within the Republican Party, brings relations on Capitol Hill to the brink of violence.
Last month, Arizona Representative Paul Gosar was censured and stripped of his committee positions for tweeting a photoshopped anime video showing him attacking Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and President Joe Biden. Marjorie Taylor Greene has faced similar consequences for earlier comments.
The timid appeals by the Democrats for the Republican leadership to enforce “civility” are falling on deaf ears. Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy indicated he would do very little to control this behavior. During a GOP conference meeting Wednesday morning, he did not name any Republicans involved in the recent controversies and instead pleaded for members to see that “Congress is not junior high.”
McCarthy’s spineless response is explained by his ambition to become the next Speaker of the House, which requires the support of the fascistic “Freedom Caucus” of Trump-allied Republicans. In addition, he may himself be intimidated by the threats of violence flooding the Capitol, less than a year after a mob of Trump supporters stormed the building.
The recurring death threats by Republicans against Democratic lawmakers reflects the ongoing transformation of the GOP into a fascist party with Trump at its head. As Republicans continuously threaten politicians with violence, the Democrats have only responded with handwringing and requests to the Republicans to “take action,” demonstrating the party’s inability to seriously defend democratic rights, even when the lives of its own elected officials are at risk.