GOP Rep. Lauren Boebert said she plans on introducing legislation to have President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, and even Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi fired because of the way the Biden administration handled Afghanistan.
“The blame starts at the top, with Biden and his handpicked vice president who bragged that she was right there making the same bad decisions. And if not for her own dereliction of duty, she should be impeached for not demanding we invoke the 25th Amendment,” Boebert said during a Freedom Caucus press conference on Tuesday.
“It is time for action, impeach Biden, impeach Kamala Harris, and throw in the secretary of state if you could get him back from vacation. Take a vote to vacate the chair, to get Nancy Pelosi the heck out of here,” she said.
“When you start thinking about impeachment and discussing that, you start going down the list. Well, do we really want a President Harris? Do we really want President Pelosi?” Boebert told Beck, referencing who would replace Biden if he was impeached. “She certainly has shown what she’s done with the people’s house here in Washington DC. I can imagine what she’d do with the White House.”
However, the August 31 deadline to withdraw all troops meant there were still Americans and allies who were unable to evacuate. Politico reported there are roughly 100 US citizens still left in the country.
“My fellow Americans: The war in Afghanistan is now over. I’m the 4th president who has faced the issue of whether and when to end this war,” Biden said during a speech on Tuesday. “I refused to send another generation of America’s sons and daughters to fight a war that should have ended long ago.”
Boebert and the White House did not respond to Insider’s request for comment at the time of publication.
Republican Rep. Lauren Boebert revealed this week that her husband earned nearly a million dollars over 2019 and 2020 for consulting work he did for an energy firm.
The freshman Colorado congresswoman failed to disclose her husband’s income, which was $478,000 in 2020 and $460,000 in 2019, during her campaign last year, the Associated Press first reported. This failure is a violation of ethics and campaign finance laws, which require candidates to disclose their spouse’s and children’s income or assets.
“It is not common for members to not disclose their spouse’s income because it’s just a very clear requirement under the law,” Kedric Payne, senior director of ethics for the Campaign Legal Center, told Insider.
In her 2020 financial disclosure statement, Boebert said her income came from a restaurant, Shooters Grill, and smokehouse she owns with her husband, Jayson. She also listed “Boebert Consulting – spouse” and recorded her husband’s source of income as “N/A,” according to the AP.
Payne said Boebert should provide a “very public explanation” of the discrepancy. He expects the Office of Congressional Ethics will open an inquiry if they have questions about whether the violation was intentional. The required disclosures are designed to ensure that the public can evaluate a candidate’s potential conflicts of interest.
The energy industry is a major player in Colorado’s vast 3rd Congressional District and Boebert, who sits on the House Natural Resources Committee, has taken aggressively pro-oil and -gas positions. She introduced legislation earlier this year seeking to reverse President Joe Biden’s ban on oil and gas leasing and permitting on some federally-owned land.
Her deputy chief of staff, Ben Stout, told the AP that Jayson Boebert “has worked in energy production for 18 years and has had Boebert Consulting since 2012.”
But Boebert Consulting hasn’t filed required regular reports to the state of Colorado and is classified as delinquent, The Washington Post reported. And there is no company called Terra Energy Productions registered in Colorado. There is a Texas firm called Terra Energy Partners, claiming to be “one of the largest producers of natural gas in Colorado.” The congresswoman has previously said her husband is a drilling foreman on a natural gas rig and posted an Instagram photo of him wearing a “Terra” helmet in September 2020.
It’s unclear whether the congresswoman’s failure to disclose her husband’s work and income was intentional or accidental, but the matter could be investigated by congressional ethics officials.
Boebert’s office didn’t respond to Insider’s request for comment.
On Wednesday, the Federal Election Commission sent Boebert a letter demanding more information about four payments amounting to more than $6,000 that Boebert’s campaign paid the congresswoman between May 3 and June 3. Stout told CNBC “the Venmo charges were personal expenses that were billed to the campaign account in error” and that Boebert has already reimbursed her campaign.
“If it is determined that the disbursement(s) constitutes the personal use of campaign funds, the Commission may consider taking further legal action,” Shannon Ringgold, an FEC analyst, wrote.
Many Republicans, including those who supported ending the US occupation of Afghanistan under former President Donald Trump, were quick to attack the Biden administration’s withdrawal from the country as Taliban forces swiftly took control over the weekend.
Rep. Lauren Boebert, a Colorado Republican, slammed the administration’s exit in a series of tweets over the weekend and compared the military’s evacuation of Americans from the embassy in Kabul to the US’s rushed exit from Saigon as the North Vietnamese took over in 1975.
“Joe Biden was in the Senate when America pulled out of Saigon in 1975,” Boebert tweeted on Sunday alongside a photo of American military and civilians evacuating from Vietnam. “He didn’t learn.”
By drawing a comparison with Saigon, Boebert, who’s pushed to end the 20-year-long war, suggested that President Joe Biden’s rapid exit left US partners in Afghanistan in the lurch. Many others have made a similar comparison, arguing that the US should have done more to help protect and evacuate Afghan civilians who’ve allied themselves with the US and many of whom are now targets for the Taliban.
But last month, Boebert opposed increasing aid to Afghans who worked with the US military. The congresswoman was one of 16 House Republicans who voted against a bill introduced by her fellow Colorado representative, Democrat Jason Crow, to issue an additional 8,000 immigration visas to Afghans who helped the US military over the last two decades. The bill passed the House with 407 votes in favor and awaits a vote in the Senate.
Crow criticized Boebert in his own tweet on Monday.
“Wait a minute. A few weeks ago you were 1 of only 16 members of Congress who voted against my bill to expand and speed up the visa program to evacuate and save our Afghan partners,” he wrote.
He was responding to a tweet in which Boebert wrote: “Joe has a 48 year history of making bad decisions. Add this weekend’s foreign policy decisions to the list.”
A spokesperson for Boebert didn’t immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
Crow’s “ALLIES Act” aims to increase the number of special immigration visas given to Afghans from 11,000 to 19,000 – expanding a program Congress originally created in 2008.
“For 20 years, Afghan interpreters, guides and other partners have served alongside U.S. forces, helping us complete our mission,” Crow, an Afghanistan war veteran, told The Denver Post last month. “I may not be here today were it not for the bravery and sacrifice of the Afghan men and women who worked with me during my service.”
When the Biden administration announced it would keep US troops in Afghanistan past the May withdrawal deadline the Trump administration established, Boebert suggested the government should exit sooner.
“We’ve been in Afghanistan for more than half my life,” she tweeted. “We need to end the endless wars.”
In another tweet, the freshman congresswoman attempted to mock the Biden administration’s tagline by claiming, “The Taliban are the only people building back better.”
When Boebert – a vocal opponent of mask-wearing – entered the House floor without a mask Wednesday, a Democratic House staffer handed her one, and Boebert threw it at the staffer, CNN reported, citing an eyewitness. The Washington Post, Politico’s Sarah Ferris, and ABC News’s Ben Siegel also reported the interaction.
Boebert’s office did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment. A spokesperson for the congresswoman defended her actions and told CNN that Boebert “slid” the mask towards the staffer.
“Rep. Boebert refuses to comply with Speaker Pelosi’s anti-science, totalitarian mask mandate,” the spokesperson said. “When offered a mask, she returned it with a quick slide across the table.”
Boebert was one of several GOP lawmakers who criticized the mask mandate since its introduction.
“We might as well start calling this a Perma-demic,” she tweeted Wednesday. “Permanent masking. Permanent state of emergency. Permanent control. This will go on until the American people just say enough is enough. The tyrants aren’t giving this up!”
24 House Republicans didn’t follow the mask mandate
CNN reported that while the majority of Republican lawmakers – including some who had criticized the mandate – did wear a mask after the new mandate, 24 were seen not wearing a mask on the House floor.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy led the criticism of the rules, claiming that the new mandate was not based on science.
“Make no mistake – The threat of bringing masks back is not a decision based on science, but a decision conjured up by liberal government officials who want to continue to live in a perpetual pandemic state,” he tweeted Tuesday.
Rep. Byron Donalds, who did not wear a mask on the House floor even though he said he had not been vaccinated, per CNN. “This rule is stupid,” he said, per the report.
Rep. Chip Roy, who said on the House floor: “This is some serious nanny-state stuff that will only breed resentment […] We should adjourn and shut the place down.” The speech won him a standing ovation from lawmakers including Reps. Boebert, Marjorie Taylor Greene, and Andy Biggs, CNN reported.
In July 2020, JR Majewski made national headlines after transforming his 19,000-square-foot lawn into a massive Trump re-election banner. When the Air Force veteran from Ohio appeared in a television interview with Fox News, he was wearing a QAnon T-shirt.
Several months later, as Congress met to certify President Joe Biden’s election win, Majewski was among the thousands of Trump supporters who attended the “Stop the Steal” rally in Washington DC, later admitting to breaching police barricades and walking up to the base of the Capitol building.
Majewski is now trying to return to the Capitol, but this time as a congressman representing the 9th district of Ohio, a seat currently held by Democratic Rep. Marcy Kapur.
Since he was first spotted wearing the “Q” T-shirt, Majewski has made several more references to the conspiracy theory, posting QAnon images and hashtags on his social media channel, and live streaming videos with the well-known QAnon influencer RedPill79.
Majewski is one of many congressional candidates running in the 2022 midterm elections who have given credence to QAnon, which the FBI described as a far-right group with “anti-government, identity-based and fringe political conspiracy theories,” The Washington Post reported.
A Media Matters investigation published earlier this month revealed that 36 candidates in 17 states have either openly endorsed QAnon, made subtle references to, or distanced themselves from the conspiracy theory despite repeatedly displaying their support on social media or in video interviews.
Thirty-three of the candidates are running as Republicans while two are independents and one is still deciding whether to run as a Republican or an independent, the investigation found. The state with the most QAnon-believing candidates is Florida with nine candidates, followed by California which has six candidates, although these numbers are still subject to change.
In this cohort is also Reba Sherill, a health and wellness advocate who in 2020 unsuccessfully ran in Florida’s 21st congressional district – home to Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort. She is running again as a Republican candidate for the US Senate in the midterms.
As a big Trump fan, Sherrill used to gather with other supporters on a bridge near Mar-A-Lago to wave in homage at the former president’s motorcade whenever he was in town, The Washington Post reported.
She is an ardent QAnon believer and has made the conspiracy theory central to her largely self-funded campaign.
The self-described “Q patriot” focuses her campaign on child trafficking, matching with QAnon’s false belief that Trump is fighting a “deep state” cabal of human traffickers in the United States, Yahoo News reported.
Sherrill has also referred to the more extreme adrenochrome theory – the belief that Democratic elites harvest the drug from children by torturing them and drinking their blood – in a now-deleted post on her website.
The Flordia native told Yahoo News that the “mainstream media tries to paint people who talk about human trafficking and child sex trafficking as being some kind of crazy lunatics.”
“This is not a conspiracy, this is reality,” she insisted. “It’s not some fictitious thing.”
Another congressional candidate who believes in the human trafficking theory is Omar Navarro, a convicted stalker running for California’s 43rd congressional district.
The California native, who last year spent six months in jail after pleading guilty to a stalking charge, told Insider in an interview that he believes in “some things” that “Q” says, including the human trafficking trope.
“I do believe that there’s human trafficking going on right now. I do believe that Hollywood has participated in some of this with pedophilia on and it’s something obviously we can’t ignore,” he said.
Navarro, who has gone viral multiple times on Twitter for his far-right and homophobic views, has previously pushed the debunked Pizzagate theory. He told Insider: “I feel like there are certain things going on. There’s something shady in that pizza shop.”
The Californian also defended using the popular QAnon slogan WWG1WGA (“Where we go one, we go all”) in a tweet posted on October 3, 2020, saying he ended up deleting it because he didn’t want Twitter to ban him.
“I always have to worry about my free speech and what I say on Twitter,” he said.
The fear of being removed from social media platforms is not holding back QAnon fan Jo Rae Perkins, who is running for the Senate in Oregon, where she unsuccessfully ran in 2020.
Perkins, who discovered QAnon messaging boards in 2017 and describes them as a “source of information.” She has also posted a video of herself taking a “digital soldier oath” in front of a WWG1WGA sticker, CNN reported.
Around eight candidates have consistently and blatantly pushed elements of the QAnon conspiracy theory in the past but have, in some way, tried to distance themselves from it. These include Josh Barnett, Bobby Piton, Jon McGreevey, and Billy Prempeh.
Greene pushed these ideas so fervently that she became a “correspondent” for a conspiracy news website between 2017 and 2018, NBC News reported. In one of her posts for the now-defunct “American Truth Seekers” website, the controversial lawmaker called Q a “patriot.”
She also told her social media followers that Q “is worth listening to” in a now-deleted video from 2017.
But while Greene once proudly broadcast some of QAnon’s wildest ideas, she has since tried to publicly distance herself from the conspiracy theory.
In August 2020, Greene said that QAnon no longer represented her current position. “No, I don’t [consider myself a QAnon candidate]. I think that’s been the media’s characterization of me,” she told Fox News.
But after winning the Republican nomination for Colorado’s 3rd District, she told Fox 31 News that she’s “not a follower.” She did not, however, disavow a central tenet of the QAnon ideology – that the “deep state” is actively working against Trump. “I believe there are people working in the administration that at least appear to be actively undermining President Trump,” she said in 2020.
Publicly disavowing QAnon whilst continuing to advocate for some of the conspiracy theory’s nonsensical beliefs is an oft-used “camouflage” tactic by the far-right, Media Matters president Angela Carusone told Insider.
Some candidates might be doing so to appear more palatable to a wider audience and to avoid “political blowback” while maintaining their base of QAnon donors, he said.
“When candidates walk back their QAnon commitment, I think you have to view that with real skepticism,” Carusone advised. “They do things in a careful and concerted way.”
QAnon is a political tool to raise money and attract voters
While some candidates publicly disavow QAnon in a bid to appeal to a more mainstream audience, others subtly signal their support for it as a means to bring conspiracy theorists into the fold, to donate and vote for them.
“Many don’t even mention Q directly,” Jack Bratich, an associate professor of journalism and media studies at Rutgers University, told Insider. “It’s become a kind of background story for adherents, who can signal to each other that they are part of this shadowy movement.”
Insider identified around a dozen candidates who have expressed their support for QAnon in less than explicit ways, via retweets, subtle nods to slogans, and the use of specific hashtags. These include Steve Von Loor, Tricia Flanagan, Sam Peters, and Anthony Sabatini.
Several candidates included the hashtag #WWG1WGA in their tweets. Others included the letter “Q” in response to posts from QAnon-affiliated accounts.
“I’m certain that there are some of these individuals that don’t actually care or believe in it, but they see it as an opportunity,” Carusone said.
“I think there are some candidates who are certainly just being political,” Carusone went on. “They’re crassly seeing a potential political donor base or power base.”
QAnon is ‘on the rise’ in congressional politics
It’s clear that the influence of QAnon in congressional politics is “on the rise,” Carusone said. “And they’re aggressively moving to take over parts of the Republican party, local committees, school boards, local races too.”
Bratich said it shows how deeply QAnon has “settled” into the Republican party. “As a movement, it has expanded to try and take over the party,” he said. “It’s not central to the GOP but it’s no longer a marginal component either.”
QAnon is now a major force in American politics, Carusone agreed. “And, basically, I think we’re kind of screwed.”
Here is a full list of all 36 QAnon supporters who are running for Congress in 2022.
According to FEC data seen by Insider, across 239 occasions from 2007 to 2021, the RNC spent over $2.6 million on purchases at Trump-related businesses and properties, including its hotels. These ranged from catering expenses to venue rental fees.
However, expenses for events at Trump properties began to peter out after he lost the election in November 2020, with only one disbursement to Trump businesses per month from the RNC in the first three months of 2021.
Speaking to right-wing commentator Gina Loudon on “Dr.Gina Primetime” on Wednesday, Boebert ridiculed the House chamber’s mask mandate and said she “enjoys” telling Speaker Nancy Pelosi to “kiss my mask.”
“Leftists won’t even listen to the bureaucrats at the CDC, and it just goes to show that this party’s ‘Follow the Science’ slogan is a total joke, just like this entire administration, just like the entire Democrat Party,” Boebert said, according to Right Wing Watch. “They want to tell you to listen to science and listen to data and facts, but they haven’t done that for more than a year.”
“Texas removed their mask mandate two months ago, and Sleepy Joe called it ‘Neanderthal thinking,'” she continued. “No, sir. Republicans are just following the science, and since removing the mask mandate two months ago, Texas has not reported a single COVID death. Not one.”
More than 50,000 people have died in Texas since March 2020.
However, on May 16, the state did report its first day without recording any COVID-19 death since the beginning of the pandemic.
Dr. Wesley Long, a pathologist at Houston Methodist, told the Houston Chronicle that while this new milestone is encouraging, people must still remain vigilant and careful.
“We all want to be on the other side of the pandemic. And it’s OK to feel excitement about changes in mask mandates, or about decreasing case numbers and mortality,” Long said, according to the Houston Chronicle.
“But it’s important to remember how we got here,” Long continued. “A lot of the benefits we’re seeing now are largely driven by vaccines and compliance with safety measures such as masking and social distancing.”
Boebert represents Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District and ran her 2020 campaign on a pro-gun platform. She owns a restaurant in the state called Shooters Grille, where the staff is encouraged to openly carry firearms.
Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia refused to wear a face mask on the House floor on Wednesday, continuing her protest against mask-wearing requirements.
Greene isn’t alone. Several other Republican lawmakers also openly defied House rules on Tuesday evening, appearing maskless while casting votes on the floor, according to C-SPAN footage. The Capitol physician, Brian Monahan, decided last week that House members must continue wearing masks on the House floor until all members and floor staffers are fully vaccinated.
Because at least 100 GOP House members haven’t said whether they’ve been vaccinated against COVID-19, it’s unclear whether they are violating the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s new guidance that fully vaccinated people don’t need to wear masks indoors. Nine of the 10 GOP lawmakers cited for violating the rules haven’t said whether they’ve been vaccinated, according to a recent CNN survey. Greene refuses to reveal whether she’s gotten the shot.
In accordance with House rules, Greene will receive a warning for her first violation, along with Lauren Boebert of Colorado, Chip Roy of Texas, Louie Gohmert of Texas, Bob Good of Virginia, Thomas Massie of Kentucky and Mary Miller of Illinois, multiplenewsoutlets reported.
GOP Reps. Brian Mast of Florida, Beth Van Duyne of Texas, and Mariannette Miller-Meeks of Iowa, who also flouted the rules and had already received their first warnings, will face a $500 fine, per the reports. Additional offenses would result in a $2,500 fine.
Under current rules, all House lawmakers must wear a face-covering on the floor except for when speaking, debating, or presiding over House proceedings. Fines for refusing to wear a mask were established by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in the wake of the Capitol insurrection on Jan. 6, when several members sheltered-in-place together and many were maskless. At least a handful of lawmakers later tested positive for COVID-19.
Although the fine will be deducted from the member’s congressional salary, some lawmakers are calling on their supporters to make donations. Mast asked voters in an email to contribute to his “fight against Pelosi and the Washington Lockdown Cheerleading Squad” which is “going to get expensive FAST,” Punchbowl News reported on Wednesday. The Iowa Republican Party, on behalf of Miller-Meeks, also tweeted a donation link “to help us fight back and retire Pelosi in 2022.”
The GOP mask protest comes after the CDC last Thursday announced fully vaccinated people no longer needed to wear masks indoors or outdoors at gatherings of any size, except in healthcare settings, on public transportation, at homeless shelters, and at airports. Private companies may still enforce mask mandates as they see fit.
Pelosi said last Thursday the House rule would stay in place despite the CDC’s guidance, noting not all lawmakers had been fully vaccinated yet.
But House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is expected to force a vote on a resolution to revise the mask guidelines on Wednesday night. But the resolution is expected to be tabled by Democrats.
“The continued House mask mandate sends the erroneous message that the efficacy of the vaccines cannot be trusted,” the GOP resolution says. “Members of the House of Representatives have a responsibility to send a message to the American people that we can trust the safety and efficacy of the available COVID-19 vaccines.”
Several Republican lawmakers appeared impassive and even displeased throughout most of President Joe Biden’s first joint address to Congress on Wednesday night.
Freshman firebrand Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado live-tweeted criticism of Biden while he spoke about his administration’s agenda, covering items such as the economy, health care, and the criminal justice system.
When Biden touched on the economy, Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio looked visibly troubled and began shaking his head vigorously, PBS NewsHour’s Lisa Desjardins observed.
Cameras in the House chamber showed Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas appearing to struggle to stay awake as Biden discussed immigration reform. Cruz put out a statement summing up his feelings after the speech concluded, calling it “boring, but radical.”
As Biden addressed issues including clean water, job creation, and child poverty, many Republicans, like House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, remained stone-faced.
Once Biden wrapped up, McCarthy plainly said: “This whole thing could have just been an email.”
Republicans piled on the attacks on Twitter, labeling Biden’s speech “pathetic,” accusing him of “virtue-signaling,” and calling out Democrats for violating COVID-19 guidelines such as social distancing.
Only around 200 people were allowed in the House chamber for Wednesday’s address, as the event was scaled back due to coronavirus restrictions.
During his speech, Biden highlighted his infrastructure proposal, called on Congress to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour, and outlined parts of his $1.8 trillion American Families Plan, which would invest in child care and education.
Democrats repeatedly rose from their seats and applauded the president as he spoke, while Republicans largely remained seated with their hands in their laps.
However, there were some bipartisan moments of the evening. When Biden briefly acknowledged first lady Jill Biden teaching as a community college professor, she received a standing ovation from Democratic and Republican lawmakers. Boebert was the only person who did not clap, according to the Capitol Hill pool.
Several GOP lawmakers also applauded after Biden encouraged Americans to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
She unpacked what appeared to be a space blanket about halfway through the address and laid the mylar sheet over her lap. Photos from the evening show Boebert using her phone while covered by the blanket and her Twitter account shows she tweeted more than 25 times during Biden’s address.
Matt Fuller, a politics reporter at The Daily Beast who was inside the chamber, tweeted that Boebert “sort of loudly opened” the blanket, then “shook it free so that everyone could hear it in the chamber,” before draping it across her lap.
The freshman lawmaker’s behavior during the speech raised eyebrows on a number of occasions – from live-tweeting vitriol at Biden from inside the House chamber to refusing to rise during a standing ovation for first lady Jill Biden.
Boebert, who has made a name for herself as a pro-gunright-wing ideologue during her short time in the House of Representatives, visibly shook her head several times when Biden’s speech turned toward gun control in the latter half of the address.
The Republican lawmaker also refused to stand when Biden suggested lowering prescription costs for Americans – a rare moment that drew a standing ovation from members of both parties.