On Tuesday, the House of Representatives did the right thing, albeit by a narrow margin: They voted to censure Arizona representative Paul Gosar over posting a disturbing anime video of him killing colleague Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and President Joe Biden. As is the style of the time, it was a narrow win; the vote was almost entirely along party lines, with only two Republicans voting yes. But there was a lot of time for pre-vote discussion — which is to say far right bloviating from the usual suspects.
There was Matt Gaetz, of course, who admitted on the floor of a historic building that anime “is not not really my thing,” and argued that if they punish Gosar, they may be on a slippery slope to “indicting the Wile E. Coyote [sic].” But enough about the guy who’s lawyered the eff up over a federally investigated into his ties to a sex trafficking ring. What did Lauren Boebert, the one who doesn’t understand how government works, have to say on the matter?
Boebert labels Ilhan Omar a member of “the Jihad squad” and smears her with unfounded conspiracy theories pic.twitter.com/lhOIPJRlgG
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) November 17, 2021
As with much Republican rhetoric these days, Boebert relied on false equivalences, trying to distract from a damning issue by diverting attention to matters that aren’t remotely the same. That meant trying to demonize a number of her Democratic colleagues, and airing a host of wacky conspiracy theories.
“Democrat policies are so pathetic and have done so poorly, that the left has nothing else to do but troll the internet looking for ways to get offended and then try to target members and strip them of their committees,” Boebert railed. “This is a dumb waste of the House’s time, but since the Speaker has designated the floor to discuss members’ inappropriate actions, shall we?”
She did not name names, but it was clear who she was subtweeting. “The jihad squad member from Minnesota has paid her husband – and not her brother-husband – the other one, over a million dollars in campaign funds. This member is allowed on the Foreign Affairs Committee while praising terrorists,” she said, alluding to nonsense claims dropped on Reddit about Ilhan Omar.
She cryptically alluded to Maxine Waters as a “Democrat chairwoman” who “incited further violence in the streets outside of a courthouse.” (This is true-ish: The California representative told protesters in Minneapolis to “get more confrontational” if Derek Chauvin was not found guilty of the murder of George Floyd. A vote to censure her failed and Chauvin was found guilty.)
Then there was the “cherry on top”: Eric Salwell, aka “my colleague and three-month presidential candidate from California who is on the Intelligence Committee slept with Fang Fang, a Chinese spy. Let me say that again, a member of Congress who received classified briefings was sleeping with the enemy! This is unacceptable!” But it’s also almost certainly BS.
True, we’re over half a decade into the Trump era — and it’s been over a decade since the peak of the Tea Party movement — so we should be used to seeing tinfoil hat rants from elected far right officials in the highest seats of government. But Boebert’s sputtering speech still stuck out.