Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) on Sunday called on House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) to publicly condemn Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) after she posted a video telling her supporters a false story about calling Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) “the jihad squad” to her face in a Capitol elevator earlier this week.
In a video that went viral last week, Boebert told her supporters that she got into an elevator at the Capitol with a Capitol Police officer and supposedly joked that they would be safe because Omar wasn’t carrying a backpack. Boebert claimed that when Omar entered the elevator, “I looked over and I said ‘Oh look, the jihad squad decided to show up for work today.’”
Omar fired back at Boebert’s claim on Thanksgiving by tweeting that “this buffoon looks down when she sees me at the Capitol, this whole story is made up.”
Boebert later tweeted that she “apologizes to anyone in the Muslim community I offended with my comment” about Omar and that she has “reached out to her office to speak with her directly.”
In a statement, McCarthy claimed that he spoke to Boebert on Friday, but did not condemn the far-right extremist’s actions.
“She has apologized for what she said and has reached out to Congresswoman Omar to meet next week,” McCarthy said. “I spoke with Leader Hoyer today to help facilitate that meeting so that Congress can get back to talking to each other and working on the challenges facing the American people.”
Asked on CNN whether McCarthy should publicly condemn Boebert, Hutchinson said he should.
“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,” Hutchinson said. “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 argued the importance of “increasing the civil debate and civil discourse.”
“And we have got to look for ways that we can bring people together, and not divide, and certainly along racial lines,” Hutchinson said.
Hutchinson’s remarks come as the House minority leader has made efforts to appease the far-right faction of the GOP as he looks to make a bid for House speaker if the GOP retakes the majority in next year’s midterm elections.
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) on Friday night claimed that she had a “good call” with McCarthy after repeatedly complaining that he had not “fought” hard enough for her or Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ), referring to the House’s vote to condemn and strip committee assignments from both of them for social media posts musing the execution of Democratic lawmakers. Greene has demanded for McCarthy to boot Reps. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) and Liz Cheney (R-WY), both of whom voted for former President Trump’s impeachment for “incitement of insurrection,” from the House GOP conference for serving on the Jan. 6 select committee. If McCarthy doesn’t follow through with her demand, Greene threatened that she would not support McCarthy if he ran for House speaker.
McCarthy has also defended Gosar, accusing Democrats of an “abuse of power” before the House voted to censure the Arizona Republican earlier this month. The House minority leader also threatened that if the GOP were to retake the majority, the party would consider removing Democrats from committees as a way to get back at them for censuring Gosar and Greene.
Watch Hutchinson’s remarks below: