Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) said Sunday that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) should be condemning extreme behavior from lawmakers in his party like Rep. Lauren Boebert (Colo.), who recently joked to supporters that her Muslim colleague, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), could be a terrorist.
“I do. I think whenever, even in our own caucus, our own members, if they go the wrong direction, I mean, it has to be called out. It has to be dealt with, particularly whenever it is breaching the civility, whenever it is crossing the line in terms of violence or increasing the divide in our country,” Hutchinson told CNN’s Dana Bash on “State of the Union” when asked about the incident.
“So, one of the things that’s really important to us in the future is increasing the civil debate and civil discourse. And we’ve got to look for ways that we can bring people together and not divide and certainly along racial lines,” he continued.
A viral clip circulated on Thanksgiving showed Boebert telling supporters in Colorado a story about how she and a staffer were inside a Capitol elevator when she saw an alarmed Capitol police officer running towards them. The Colorado Republican said she then turned and saw Omar standing with them in the lift.
“Well, she doesn’t have a backpack. We should be fine,” Boebert claimed she told the cop, adding that she then turned to Omar and said, “Oh look, the jihad squad decided to show up for work today.”
Omar has since responded and said the story was entirely made up and urged McCarthy and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to take action against Boebert’s persistent anti-Muslim bigotry.
Boebert offered a halfhearted apology on Friday and said she had reached out to Omar’s office to speak with her directly.
“I apologize to anyone in the Muslim community I offended with my comment about Rep. Omar,” she tweeted.
McCarthy said in a statement Saturday that he had spoken to Boebert and encouraged her to meet with Omar. However, he did not condemn her remarks.
He also refused to condemn Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) earlier this month after the far-right Republican posted a violent anime video depicting him killing Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Gosar was ultimately censured by the House over the incident, with just two Republicans joining Democrats to support the measure.