Lauren Boebert is back in the news again, which is great for columnists, cable TV news pundits and late-night comics — but not so great for America, for Colorado and especially for Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District, which she represents.
Two separate — but both entirely unsurprising — Boebert stories offer up a test for your outrage tolerance.
In one — the one that’s more clear cut — Boebert joined in with Don Jr. and much of the rest of Trump’s Team Empathy to troll Alec Baldwin in the tragic movie-set death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.
The other is that, according to reporting from Rolling Stone, Boebert was among members of Congress who had been regularly in touch — in person or through their staffs — with those who helped organize the Jan. 6 protest, which turned, of course, into the assault on the Capitol. Boebert denies it. But the Rolling Stone reporter said two organizers had first told this tale to investigators for the House Select Committee, so, presumably, we’ll eventually know more.
The Boebert tweet on Baldwin was predictably vile. But if the Rolling Stone story proves to be correct, then we’re in a whole different classification of problematic. Usually, when Boebert is being investigated, it’s because of, uh, filing errors in various financial reports or for refusing to wear a mask. This could be a little more serious than getting your mileage wrong.
As everyone must know by now, Baldwin accidentally shot and killed Hutchins on the set of a movie called Rust. He had been rehearsing a gunslinging scene when given a so-called “cold gun” — meaning one that had been disarmed and was presumably not dangerous — and a shot went off, apparently with live ammunition, killing Hutchins and wounding an assistant director.
It’s a terrible story about gun safety while making films, about gun safety in general and about how live ammunition could possibly have made its way onto a movie set. But at its most essential, it’s a story about a life taken far too soon through what seems to have been neglect.
But because Baldwin is the outspoken liberal actor who regularly enraged Trumpists with his SNL send-ups of the former president, this shooting became — what else? — Twitter material.
And so Boebert pulled up a 2014 tweet, apparently made by Baldwin in support of Black Lives Matter, which said, “I’m going to make bright, yellow banana yellow T-shirts that read ‘My hands are up. Please don’t shoot me.’ Who wants one?”
To which Boebert replied, “Alec Baldwin, are these still available? Asking for a movie producer…”
The reaction was just what I assume she was going for from her critics — that the Boebert, uh, joke was inappropriate, insensitive and not the kind of thing you would expect to see from most elected officials not named Boebert.
Don Jr.’s tweet was even more straightforward. He said he would sell T-shirts with the logo “Guns don’t kill people. Alec Baldwin kills people.” Don Jr. apparently took the tweet down.
Not Boebert. She was back on Twitter with this: “I said what [I] said. You crazy Blue Checks want to take away our right to defend ourselves with a firearm, and know NOTHING about basic gun safety! … Alec’s careless and ignorant actions KILLED a woman … If this was a conservative celebrity you’d be calling for his head.”
OK, that might make your stomach turn, but theRolling Stone story, which Boebert forcefully denies, is another matter.
The anonymous organizers — who insisted to Rolling Stone that they were involved in planning the protests and not the assault — told investigators they had been in contact with House members and the White House and had, in fact, “dozens” of planning meetings with them.
You won’t be surprised by any of the House members named. All are avid supporters of Trump and, it goes without saying, all are unapologetic proponents of the Big Lie. Along with Boebert, the article listed Andy Biggs of Arizona, Mo Brooks of Alabama, Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina, Louie Gohmert of Texas and Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia.
Most of these names have been tossed around before in connection with the insurrection — one House Democrat filed an ethics complaint against Boebert, though nothing came of it — but maybe not with so much specificity. One organizer told Rolling Stone, “We would talk to Boebert’s team, Cawthorn’s team, Gosar’s team, like, back to back to back.”
Boebert issued a statement denying her involvement and, of course, attacking the press. When Brooks, who wore body armor when speaking at Trump’s Jan. 6 rally, denied any contact with the organizers, he did allow that his staff might have been involved. He said he’d be “proud” if any of them were.
“Let me be clear,” Boebert said in her statement, “I had no role in the planning or execution of any event that took place at the Capitol or anywhere in Washington, DC on January 6th. With the help of my staff, I accepted an invitation to speak at one event but ultimately I did not speak at any events on January 6th. Once again, the media is acting as a messaging tool for the radical left.”
Boebert had been in office only three days on Jan. 6. She had already made a speech saying that Arizona’s electors should not be recognized. She would be one of 147 House Republicans who voted, post-insurrection, to overturn the 2020 presidential election.
“Now, grasping at straws, Rolling Stone is using anonymous sources and shoddy reporting to attack me,” Boebert said. “Thank you, next.”
I have no way to know who is telling the truth here. But Rolling Stone also reported that it had documents showing both of its anonymous sources were in contact with Gosar and Boebert on Jan. 6.
Reports like this one keep hitting the news and more will surely come — in the next article, in the next book, in the next committee report.
Is it any wonder that Senate Republicans filibustered a bill to name an independent commission on the insurrection? Is it any wonder that Trump has tried to block any of his aides from complying with subpoenas to testify before the House Select Committee? Is it any wonder that Joe Biden has blocked Trump’s use of executive privilege in his attempt to prevent the National Archives from handing over documents related to Jan. 6?
Of course not. Thank you, next.
Mike Littwin’s column was produced for The Colorado Sun, a reader-supported news organization committed to covering the people, places and policies of Colorado. Learn more at coloradosun.com.