- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Rep. Lauren Boebert’s first year in Congress firmly established her as a force of political defiance — a virtual legislator outlaw.

If she wasn’t boasting about packing a pistol at the U.S. Capitol or setting off metal detectors and quarreling with Capitol Police, the Colorado Republican was trading verbal jabs with Democratic lawmakers or making a social media splash with a dress emblazoned with “Let’s go Brandon.”

At every turn, she emerged unbowed.

After dodging censure by House Democrats for joking that Rep. Ilhan Omar resembled a suicide bomber, Mrs. Boebert boasted about her narrow escape from congressional punishment.

“They tried to cancel me, but I’m not bowing down. I refuse to be bullied by people who hate our country,” Mrs. Boebert, 35, told the conservative student activists at Turning Point USA’s AmeriFest in Phoenix. “I refuse to back down and be silenced. Now, these same progressives tried to cancel me in Congress.”

From Mrs. Boebert’s perspective, she stared down House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats who wanted to strip her of committee assignments as was done to fellow GOP firebrands Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona.

“They hate me because I share the message that they can’t control me. And they certainly are not going to control you,” Mrs. Boebert told the crowd of student activists. “The problem is they’ve never seen someone who is so radically themselves.”

Her next words encapsulated her cowgirl stance against Washington politics:

“Authenticity seems to be banned in Washington, D.C., but they want to control everything. Even down to the way you protect yourself. That is why I stand firm on the Second Amendment. Just since Thanksgiving alone, my office has received dozens of death threats, and it would be a shame to think that I would not have an equalizer against those threats.”

Her detractors call her a “gun nut” and “Islamophobic” — or worse.

Her fans, including former President Donald Trump, say she’s a courageous warrior against the left.

“She is a fearless leader, a defender of the America First Agenda, and a fighter against the Loser RINOs and Radical Democrats,” Mr. Trump said when endorsing her for reelection in a statement from his Save America PAC.

SEE ALSO: Democratic leadership denies slow-walking punishment against Boebert

Mrs. Boebert debuted in Congress this year as an entrepreneur-turned-politician. She is the pistol-packing owner of Shooters Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, where the servers open carry sidearms. 

She burst into the political world in 2020 by defeating five-term incumbent Rep. Scott Tipton in the Republican primary for Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District. She beat him by more than 10,000 votes, despite Mr. Tipton’s endorsement by Mr. Trump.

She then defeated her Democratic opponent by 6 percentage points in the general election.

For the upcoming 2022 midterms, she has attracted two primary opponents and a handful of Democrats have entered the race their party’s nomination for the seat.

Mrs. Boebert has already raised over $2.7 million, overshadowing potential challengers, according to Federal Election Commission records.

She also got a boost from Colorado’s independent redistricting commission, which fortified all seven incumbents’ districts.

Mrs. Boebert was stirring things up before she became a candidate, often with her energetic championing of the Second Amendment.

Four months before she declared her candidacy in the 2020 race, she confronted Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke at one of his campaign events. She took the mic during a Q-and-A session to challenge his proposal to confiscate military-style rifles.

“Hell no, you’re not!” she told Mr. O’Rourke.

During the election, although local COVID-19 regulations shut down her restaurant, Mrs. Boebert defied the shutdown order and continued serving customers as she campaigned around the district.

Upon her arrival in Washington, Mrs. Boebert weathered liberal ridicule for announcing on social media that she planned to carry her Glock on Capitol Hill. Unbeknownst to most people at the time, the Colorado lawmaker had already filed the paperwork with the city for a concealed carry permit.

Only lawmakers and law enforcement officers can carry concealed firearms in the Capitol complex. However, lawmakers cannot carry guns in legislative chambers and adjacent areas.

The Jan. 6 attack, when Trump supporters breached the Capitol to protest the certification of President Biden’s election, brought about a whole new raft of accusations against the GOP lawmaker.

Democratic lawmakers accused her of live-tweeting the speaker’s location during the attack. At 2:18 p.m., the Colorado Republican said the speaker had “been removed from the chambers,” but did not specify where Mrs. Pelosi was taken to within the Capitol.

The charges continued. Rep. Steve Cohen, Tennessee Democrat, claimed he saw Mrs. Boebert conducting a tour of the Capitol to unknown individuals before the riots.

“I don’t remember the day we were walking in a tunnel and we saw her and commented who she was, and she had a large group with her. Now whether these people were people that were involved in the insurrection or not, I do not know,” Mr. Cohen told CNN’s Jim Sciutto on the show “Newsroom.”

Mr. Cohen continued, “She was a freshman, she might have had a large number of people coming to be with her on this historic occasion and just wanting to give them the opportunity to have a tour. But it is pretty clear that her team is the team — she’s not on the home team. She was with the visitors.”

Mrs. Boebert sent a letter to Mr. Cohen disputing his characterization of her as “false” and “slanderous.”

“Let me be clear — all of your claims and implications are categorically false,” Mrs. Boebert wrote. “I have never given a tour of the U.S. Capitol to any outside group. As I previously stated, I brought my family to the Capitol on January 2nd for a tour and on the 3rd for pictures to commemorate the day I was sworn in as a Member of the U.S. Congress. Again, the only people I have ever had in the Capitol with me during the 117th Congress are my young children, husband, mom, aunt and uncle.”

Six days after the riots, when Mrs. Pelosi first ordered metal detectors installed at every entrance of the House chamber, Mrs. Boebert set off the magnetometers and then refused to allow Capitol Police to search her bag. The officers would not allow her inside the chamber for several minutes.  

Mrs. Boebert wasn’t shocked by the cool reception she received from Democratic lawmakers in Washington.

“The thing that did not surprise me was how awful and divisive my colleagues on the other side of the aisle are. And it’s interesting because, still, people try to tell me, ‘Oh, it wasn’t always like this,’” she told The Washington Times. “But there’s always been a perception of the divisiveness. And now I’m here, and everybody says, we’ve never had such a contentious environment here in Washington, D.C.

Mrs. Boebert, a member of the arch-conservative House Freedom Caucus, heaped praise on her compatriots. She said they keep her going each day on the Hill.

“I know that they are passionate, and they have my back, and we have the right policies, the right agenda, and the right motivation to stay involved and make sure we get our country back on track,” she said.

• Kerry Picket can be reached at kpicket@washingtontimes.com.

Copyright © 2023 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide