Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.), who has a history of propping up conspiracy theories and instigating religious attacks, asked a group of Jewish people touring the U.S. Capitol on Thursday if they were there to do â€œreconnaissance,â€ BuzzFeed News reported.
According to those present for the conversation, Boebert crossed paths with the group, some of whom were wearing yarmulkes and had traditional Orthodox beards, outside an elevator and looked at them â€œfrom head to toeâ€ before making the remark.
A rabbi in the group, which was there for a meeting with Rep. Thomas Suozzi (D-N.Y.), told BuzzFeed News that he was â€œvery confusedâ€ and â€œnot sure to be offended or notâ€ about the question.
â€œWhen I heard that, I actually turned to the person standing next to me and asked, â€˜Did you just hear that?â€™â€ he said, noting Jewish people have been â€œvery sensitiveâ€ to possible anti-Semitism, especially on the heels of a hostage situation at a synagogue in Texas last weekend.
Reconnaissance typically refers to military forces scouting an area in order to obtain information about enemy forces.
Boebert told BuzzFeed that she simply â€œsaw a large group and made a jokeâ€ related to the controversy over a late-night tour of the Capitol she led before the Jan. 6, 2021, storming of the building. Angry at media coverage of reports about a group tour, Boebert said at the time that â€œno reconnaissance tour occurred.â€
As for her remark on Thursday, Boebert told BuzzFeed News that some people there â€œgot itâ€ and knew it was a joke.
â€œIâ€™m too short to see anyoneâ€™s yarmulkes,â€ she added.
She didnâ€™t immediately respond to HuffPostâ€™s requests that she elaborate on the â€œreconnaissanceâ€ remark.
Suozzi told BuzzFeed News following the incident that lawmakers have a responsibility to be careful with the words they use.
â€œThe bottom line is that everyone, especially members of Congress, have to be very, very thoughtful in the language they use,â€ he said. â€œBecause when youâ€™re a member of Congress, you have an important role to play in society. You canâ€™t be cavalier in the comments you make, especially if they could be perceived as being antisemitic, or discriminatory.â€
Boebert has not shied away from religious insults in the past and has repeatedly called Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), who is Muslim, a member of the â€œjihad squad,â€ likening her to an Islamic terrorist.
She has also promoted conspiracy theories about the 2020 presidential election and the QAnon movement, insisting that many Democrats would soon be arrested for widespread corruption.