Boebert and Omar have contentious call amid backlash for anti-Muslim remarks

Republican Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado and Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota spoke on the phone, the two members of Congress confirmed Monday,

aimed at Omar.

The call did little to calm tensions between the two lawmakers, as Omar says she hung up on Boebert, after she “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 in a statement.

In posts on social media, Boebert says she spoke to Omar and that she told her, “I have reflected on my previous remarks, now as a strong Christian woman who values faith deeply I never want anything I say to offend someone’s religion.” She confirmed Omar had asked for a public apology — and that instead she had challenged Omar to issue an apology of her own for some of the comments she has made in the past.

“I will fearlessly continue to put America first, never sympathizing with terrorists,” Boebert said. “Unfortunately Ilhan can’t say the same thing and our country is worse off for it.”

In her statement, Omar repeated her call for House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to take action against Boebert.

“I believe in engaging with those we disagree with respectfully, but not when that disagreement is rooted in outright bigotry and hate,” Omar said in her statement. “To date, the Republican Party leadership has done nothing to condemn and hold their own members accountable for repeated instances of anti-Muslim hate and harassment.”

Pentagon to build up US bases in Guam and Australia to meet China challengeThe Pentagon will focus on building up bases in Guam and Australia to better prepare the US military to counter China, a senior defense official said on Monday.

The moves have been prompted by the Department of Defense’s global posture review, which President Joe Biden ordered Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin to undertake shortly after taking office in February. Austin started the global posture review in March. The review is classified, but a senior defense official provided some details about the review’s findings.

Biden “recently approved” Austin’s findings and recommendations from the global posture review, Dr. Mara Karlin, performing the duties of deputy under secretary for policy, said at a briefing on Monday.

The Indo-Pacific region was a major focus, because of Secretary Austin’s emphasis on “China as the pacing challenge,” for the Department, the senior defense official said.

The Biden administration has made countering China its main foreign policy priority as tensions have increased with Beijing, particularly over the issue of Taiwan and senior Pentagon officials have publicly expressed alarm about China’s efforts to upgrade and modernize its military. Last month Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said China had successfully tested a hypersonic missile in what was “very close” to a Sputnik moment.

To counter China, the review directs the Department to enhance “infrastructure in Guam and Australia,” and to prioritize “military construction across the Pacific Islands,” the official said, as well as “seeking greater regional access for military partnership activities.”

Prosecutors ask Supreme Court to review Bill Cosby’s overturned sexual assault convictionProsecutors in Pennsylvania announced Monday they’re appealing a court ruling in the case against Bill Cosby to the US Supreme Court, arguing that a statement from a previous district attorney that they would not file charges against Cosby does not mean that charges would never be filed.

The Montgomery County district attorney, who led the high-profile court case against Cosby for sexually assaulting Andrea Constand, said in a news release that the main question of the appeal is the 14th Amendment and the right to due process.

“The question presented to the Court is: ‘Where a prosecutor publicly announces that he will not file criminal charges based on lack of evidence, does the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment transform that announcement into a binding promise that no charges will ever be filed, a promise that the target may rely on as if it were a grant of immunity?’ “ the release states.

As the decision stands now, it could have “far-reaching negative consequences” across the country, District Attorney Kevin Steele said in a statement.

— From wire reports

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