One House Republican is under investigation for trafficking minors. Another helped cover up the molestation of college athletes. A third partners with neo-Nazis and shows “humorous” invented clips of himself killing Democratic colleagues. A fourth was booted from House Committees for expressing support for political violence—even as that violence threatens her own colleagues.
That Rep. Lauren Boebert can remain a serious candidate for Worst Person in Congress in that crowd is a testament to just how aggressively she works at it, but Boebert’s claims to fame are many. She’s mostly known at this point for being so virulently bigoted against her fellow lawmakers, against Muslims worldwide, and against Rep. Ilhan Omar in particular, that even her own caucus of deplorables has largely steered clear of defending her. For months, Boebert has made a game of inciting her base against Omar, and those repeated anti-Muslim tirades turned into another weekend’s news when Boebert mocked Omar as a supposed terrorist to a crowd of supporters last weekend, calling her a member of the “jihad squad.”
This was grotesque behavior—even for a Republican caucus that’s made a name for itself supporting extortion, rape, molestation, tax dodging, and attempted government overthrow, and pressure quickly mounted on Boebert to either muster up an apology or prepare for potential consequences.
Boebert couldn’t muster it, as it turns out. She ostensibly called up Omar to offer that apology, but somehow the end result was to equate Omar with terrorists yet again, get hung up on, and produce a video further stoking the one-sided battle with decency.
Boebert capped off that video with the claim that she would “never” sympathize with “terrorists,” but “unfortunately Ilhan can’t say the same thing.”
A note here: Lauren Boebert is being currently investigated by the House select committee probing Jan. 6 for her ties to a domestic terrorist attack on Congress. Omar is … not.
Rep. Ilhan Omar followed with a written statement of her own. “Instead of apologizing for her Islamophobic comments and fabricated lies, Rep. Boebert refused to publicly acknowledge her hurtful and dangerous comments. She instead doubled down on her rhetoric and I decided to end the unproductive call.”
Omar may have called on House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy to step up like a big boy and do something about his party’s “mainstreamed bigotry and hatred,” but everyone involved knows that McCarthy is an invertebrate. He won’t be so much as blowing his nose unless Donald Trump tells him to do it, and there’s not a chance in hell he’ll be standing up to scrub his caucus of trolls and bigots.
Well, we all saw this one coming. Boebert was asked to show the marginal bit of class once thought to be required for Members of Congress; whether or not she even intended to try, when she called up Omar, is an open question. But it ended with Boebert stoking the precise conflation of “Muslim” and “is a terrorist” that has caused disgust even in the press that covers her but which the xenophobic and fascist Republican base cannot get enough of. She’ll be fundraising off it within 24 hours.
Still, this should be a helpful reminder that there is nothing to be gained from continuing to tolerate Lauren Boebert in Congress. There is no lesson she will learn, and no mote of decency she will eventually stumble onto. There is no value in having yet another lawmaker whose household raked in nearly half a million dollars “lobbying” for the energy industry while writing up new laws favorable to it, or who breaks laws to use campaign funds to pay off personal bills, or whose primary rhetorical tools consist of barely parsable gibberish, and Boebert’s office crossed a dangerous line in throwing their lot in with seditionists bent on toppling government rather than tolerating a Republican loss of power.
The House Republican caucus may be a cesspool of indecency and outright crookery, to the point where phrases like “is under investigation for links to violent seditionists” or “was caught using campaign funds to pay off personal bills” no longer much narrows things down, but Boebert’s already been caught gleefully mocking Washington, D.C.’s gun safety laws, compromising the House Speaker’s safety during a violent coup, and palling around with, ahem, terrorists. There may be a lower bound of behavior that disqualifies a person from public office, and it’s probably considerably higher than what Boebert can manage.
Boebert’s constant attacks on Omar are not politics. They are an attempt to stoke hatred for a fellow lawmaker during a time of political violence; Boebert seems to think prodding her base into death threats against her targets is within the bounds of political discourse. Under the current rules of our democracy, she is wrong. May we never find out what government by her own preferred rules might look like.
This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.