House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday blamed the intense partisan rancor that has enveloped Congress this year on the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, and she rejected forgetting the incident or forgiving President Donald Trump, who she believes bears responsibility.
“I'll never forgive the former president of the United States and his lackeys, and his bullies that he sent to the Capitol, for the trauma that was exerted on our staff,” the California Democrat said. “The way it traumatized them, it was frightening.”
Pelosi was responding to a reporter’s question about “the breakdown of comity in Congress and the tensions between the two parties.”
Earlier Wednesday, a group of Muslim staffers sent an open letter to party leaders complaining about Rep. Lauren Boebert, a Colorado Republican who called Rep. Ilhan Omar a member of “the Jihad Squad.”
The letter was signed by hundreds of staffers with initials only. The list included 50 Muslim staffers.
Democrats are contemplating a resolution to condemn Boebert’s remarks and possibly strip her of committee assignments.
The Muslim aides wrote that “unchecked harassment” of Omar, a Minnesota Democrat and one of three Muslim members of Congress, has left them feeling unsafe and unwelcome.
“We must now come to work every day knowing that the same members and staff who perpetuate Islamophobic tropes and insinuate that we are terrorists, also walk by us in the halls of Congress.”
Democrats this year have already voted to strip two GOP lawmakers of committee assignments in response to social media posts that insinuated violence against Democrats.
Pelosi did not address the letter directly, nor did she indicate whether the House will vote to punish Boebert.
Instead, Pelosi returned to Jan. 6 and the long-term trauma she believes was inflicted on those in the building when hundreds of violent protesters pushed past police and metal barricades and broke into the building. The mob sent lawmakers and staff running for safety, and many feared for their lives.
“That’s something that you cannot just say, well, we'll do legislation to make sure this or that doesn't happen again. You cannot erase that,” Pelosi said.
House Democrats and a handful of Republicans voted to impeach Trump over the Capitol attack, arguing he instigated protesters by arguing Congress was wrongfully certifying the election in Joe Biden's favor. Trump escaped conviction in the Senate. He denies provoking the attack but has not stopped insisting the election was rigged in Joe Biden's favor.
Democrats, meanwhile, continue to seek punishment for Boebert.
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Rep. Ayanna Pressley, a Massachusetts Democrat, drafted a resolution that would condemn Boebert’s comments and take away her committee assignments.
“Representative Lauren Boebert should be removed from her committee assignments in light of conduct she has exhibited,” the resolution reads.