In the wake of Tuesday’s brutally contentious presidential debate in which former Vice President Joe Biden called President Donald Trump a racist and Trump urged violent white extremist groups to “stand by” leading up to Election Day, gun-rights advocate and far-right Republican congressional candidate Lauren Boebert remained silent on the issue Wednesday morning.
Boebert’s campaign did not return an email requesting comment on Wednesday morning, and her official Twitter feed didn’t weigh in either, instead simply declaring Trump the winner: “1st Place: President Donald J. Trump 2nd Place: Chris Wallace 3rd Place: Joe Biden.”
Trump’s refusal to disavow violent white supremacy groups that his own FBI director recently testified are responsible for the majority of domestic terrorism threats has become the dominant storyline of Tuesday night’s heated and often ugly presidential debate, especially during the nation’s ongoing reckoning with racial injustice.
Asked by moderator Chris Wallace if he would “condemn white supremacists and militia groups and to say that they need to stand down and not add to the violence in a number of these cities,” Trump first said, “sure,” but then added, “Proud Boys, stand back, stand by.”
Members of the white supremacist Proud Boys group immediately sent those words out in tweets with the group’s logo. The Proud Boys, who were on hand for the deadly Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville in 2017, have been declared a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Boebert late last year attended an anti-Red Flag Law rally in Denver, which included members of the Proud Boys and other white supremacist militia groups. Trump, who said there were “very fine people on both sides” at Charlottesville, has wholeheartedly endorsed Boebert for Congress.
The Trump campaign, in an ad, has included images of the Proud Boys from a massive rally at the Broadmoor in Colorado Springs in February, according to the Colorado Times Recorder. Boebert is a devoted Trump supporter, attending his convention acceptance speech at the White House and other Trump rallies.
Boebert shocked five-term Republican Congressman Scott Tipton in the June 30 primary and now faces former Democratic Eagle and Routt County state Rep. Diane Mitsch Bush in the Nov. 3 election. They are vying for the state’s massive 3rd Congressional District, which includes 29 of Colorado’s 64 counties and stretches from Pueblo to Grand Junction, including the western two-thirds of Eagle County.
The Mitsch Bush campaign sent out the following email blast Wednesday afternoon: “Donald Trump isn’t the only Republican that refuses to condemn the violent extremist group the Proud Boys. Lauren Boebert has taken it a step further by standing with members of the Proud Boys, Three Percenters, and other violent extremists. She also proudly tweeted out that she is the militia.
“Let’s get one thing straight: Refusing to condemn neo-Nazis incites them and serves as an endorsement of their hate. And Lauren Boebert’s courting of violent extremists is disgusting and is just another reminder of just how important this election is,” Mitsch Bush added.
The Mitsch Bush campaign in the past has blasted Boebert for her ties to other militia groups.
“Another day, another example of extremist Lauren Boebert appealing to the fringes of our society,” Mitsch Bush told supporters on July 27. “This time it’s a far-right militia with connections to violent white supremacists, and she proudly posed for a photo with them after protesting against common-sense gun laws that will save lives.”
Also in late July, the Mitsch Bush campaign sent this statement to KRDO-TV in Colorado Springs: “Lauren Boebert has aligned herself with extremist, white supremacist groups like the Proud Boys, and she seems to be more interested in national, hot button issues than the issues that matter to Coloradans. In Congress, Diane will work to represent everyone from every part of this district, not just the people who agree with her, and she will work across the aisle.”
Boebert campaign spokeswoman Laura Carno responded at the time, “We will not respond to such a disgusting allegation.” Asked on Wednesday if Trump’s “stand by” directive to the Proud Boys and calls on his “supporters to go into the polls …” were appropriate and whether Boebert backs the president’s stoking of violence on Nov. 3, Carno did not respond to an email.
In a May interview after Trump called on armed groups to liberate Michigan and militia members stormed the state legislature, Boebert said that was not something she would do.
“I don’t use my Second Amendment rights to intimidate others,” Boebert told RealVail.com. “It is for my protection and it is a protection against a tyrannical government, and so I don’t see that we would ever have to use our Second Amendment rights against our government, but that is what it’s for. It’s not for hunting. It’s not for target shooting or for sport.”
In fact, the Second Amendment reads: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
Boebert also recently engaged in a war of words with a political action committee formed by two decorated military veterans in Pueblo who oppose her candidacy, labeling them members of the left-wing ideology of antifa.