McCarthy backs Boebert after apology for Omar remarks, but says controversies like hers are 'problems'

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House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy defended Rep. Lauren Boebert Friday because “she apologized” for recent insulting comments about Rep. Ilhan Omar’s religion – but he did admit controversies surrounding Boebert and far-right allies like Reps. Paul Gosar and Marjorie Taylor Greene cause “problems.” 

“It’s things we would not want to deal with,” McCarthy, R-Calif., said. “The American people want to focus on stopping inflation, gas prices, and others. And anything that deviates from that causes problems.” 

“Lauren Boebert, as I called her when it came forward, we talked. She apologized publicly. She apologized personally,” McCarthy also said, regarding Boebert’s comments about Omar. “In disagreements and something goes astray, you apologize for it – exactly what Lauren Boebert did.” 

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., speaks to reporters at the Capitol in Washington, Friday, Dec. 3, 2021.
(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Democrats disagree that Boebert, R-Colo., sufficiently apologized to Omar, D-Minn., for the allegedly Islamophobic comments. 

Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., waits for the beginning of a news conference in front of the U.S. Capitol July 1, 2021 in Washington, D.C.
(Alex Wong/Getty Images)

“It was not an apology, it was a rationalization,” House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said of a call between Boebert and Omar over the weekend. 

“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 said. 

Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., attends a bill enrollment ceremony for the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act in the Capitol on Thursday, June 17, 2021. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

House progressives are now formally calling for Boebert to be removed from her committee assignments over the comments. But Republicans warn that if Democrats continue to remove GOP members from their committees as they did with Greene, R-Ga., and Gosar, R-Ariz., Republicans will retaliate if they regain the majority in 2022. 

“Did anyone on [Democrats’] side of the aisle talk about when Omar said the only reason I support Israel is about the Benjamins?” McCarthy said Friday. “I never got an apology or a phone call.” 

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