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Rep Lauren Boebert apologized for comments on Rep Ilhan Omar and 'jihad squad'

Boebert said in a statement to Fox News: 'I apologize to anyone in the Muslim community I offended with my comment about Rep Omar. I have reached out to her office to speak with her directly.

'There are plenty of policy differences to focus on without unnecessary distraction.' 

Boebert sparked fury on Thursday when video emerged of her telling a 'backpack' joke to a crowd of supporters - recounting a supposed encounter that Omar quickly confirmed as a lie.

Boebert, a 34-year-old gun rights activist and fervent Trump supporter, was speaking during what the website Patriot Takes said was a Thanksgiving gathering.

Commanding the stage like a stand-up comedienne, she told the crowd: 'Actually I have an Ilhan story for you.' 

Lauren Boebert, the Colorado congresswoman, was at an event where she told a story about Ilhan Omar, representative for Minnesota

With the Stars and Stripes hanging behind her, Boebert tells her 'joke'

She began to describe an encounter with Omar, the Minnesota congresswoman who - along with Rashida Tlaib - were the first two Muslim women elected to Congress. 

'So the other night was not my first 'jihad squad' moment,' said Boebert.

'I was getting into an elevator with one of my staffers. And he and I were leaving the Capitol, we're going back to my office, we get in the elevator, and I see a Capitol Police officer running, hurriedly, to the elevator.

'I see threat all over his face, and he's reaching. The door's shutting, and I can't open it.

'I look to my left, and there she is. Ilhan Omar.

'And I say well, she doesn't have a backpack, we should be fine.'

The crowd reacted with a mixture of shocked gasps and muffled laughter.

Boebert added: 'The jihad squad decided to show up for work today.'

Ilhan Omar, pictured on September 21, is - along with Rashida Tlaib - one of the first Muslim women elected to Congress

Ilhan Omar is pictured with Pramila Jayapal, another member of 'The Squad'

The clip rapidly went viral, and was seen 2.2 million times on Twitter, with many calling for Boebert to be reprimanded by her party and stripped of her committee assignments.

But Omar, 39, swiftly said that the incident Boebert described never happened.

'Fact, this buffoon looks down when she sees me at the Capitol, this whole story is made up,' said Omar. 

'Sad she thinks bigotry gets her clout. Anti-Muslim bigotry isn't funny & shouldn't be normalized. 

'Congress can't be a place where hateful and dangerous Muslims tropes get no condemnation.'

Boebert (left) is seen on October 21 sitting next to fellow members of Congress Matt Gaetz and Marjorie Taylor Greene

'Censure Boebert and remove her from all committees — then we vote her out!' said one woman. 

'The Subcommittee on Indigenous Peoples of the United States — REALLY!?!'

Another said: 'What the Hell. Strip her of committees, too. In for a penny in for a pound. 

'This cannot be acceptable behavior. In any other employee situation, the person would be fired immediately for violation of personnel policies.'

Another added: 'Doesn't Congress have an HR department? I mean if you said that to a coworker at McDs you'd get fired. WTF?'

'If I literally did the EXACT thing in a Colorado public school I would be suspended and then fired,' said another. 

'Why does Congress not have ANY repercussions for this sort of behavior?' 

One woman said that her remarks were indicative of how low standards in public life had sunk.

'This is such a grossly unpatriotic, dangerous comment coming from a member of Congress,' she said. 

'It's beyond deplorable, beyond censure. Watching LB say these things with an unenthusiastic smattering of applause really hits just how low standards in the US gov't have become since '16.'