U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) asked for divine intervention to oust corrupt politicians and urged backers to “get out ahead of the lies” Wednesday during a whistle-stop tour of towns in Colorado Congressional District 3, where she’s running for re-election.
The day-long campaign swing started in Alamosa in the San Luis Valley and continued in Walsenburg at lunchtime, La Junta in the middle of the afternoon, and Trinidad in the evening.
The Colorado Times Recorder caught up with the campaign in Walsenburg, where around 20 people gathered on the corner of 7th and Main Street, on the forecourt of an abandoned gas station. The rallygoers waved American and state flags and held up placards with Boebert’s face and name on them as vehicles passed.
Many drivers beeped their horns and gave the small group a thumbs-up, but at least one driver shook her head, another mouthed the word “No,” and a man in a pickup truck tooted support for Jason Valdez, who was protesting against Boebert on the other side of the street.
“People ask why good people let Hitler and his party come to power, and I say to them, ‘You see these women who are dying or almost dying in hospitals now because of the overturning of Roe v Wade? You see the LGBTQ people who are being murdered and taunted and discriminated against? Where are the good people standing up and saying something about that?’” Valdez told the Colorado Times Recorder.
“If I don’t stand up, then what kind of person am I? What kind of lesson am I teaching my kids?” he said.
Before she headed to La Junta, Boebert addressed her supporters in Walsenburg and took a group photo with them. Here’s the picture posted by her campaign.
“We gotta get ahead of the lies” being spread by the media, Boebert told the small crowd before she left. “We gotta get out there with truth and boldness and confidence.
“We have to get out and tell everyone you know, ‘Vote.’ And most of all, remember: You deserve a government that does not have Nancy Pelosi as speaker,” she said.
It wasn’t the only time that she would mention Pelosi. Boebert appears to have framed the House speaker as her main target in the midterms – not Adam Frisch, the Democrat she’s running against.
“There’s so many wonderful things we’re doing for you in Washington, D.C., even in the minority, even with Nancy Pelosi having the power of the pen and playing her con game of titling a bill something amazing and then loading it with a bunch of junk,” Boebert said in a speech to a crowd of around 60 people on the patio of La Junta’s library.
She blamed high inflation and other ills on Democratic policies.
Small businesses are struggling to “keep the doors open” and hire people, while workers are having a hard time finding “good-paying jobs,” she said.
Unemployment was at 3.5% in August, the lowest level in more than 50 years, while wages rose by more than 5% year-on-year – not enough to keep up with inflation.
Four million people have come across the “wide open” southern border “illegally, unvetted and unvaxed,” Boebert said – quickly adding that she didn’t really care if someone isn’t vaccinated, “but the government sure does.”
Customs and Border Patrol statistics show a sharp uptick in the number of migrant “encounters” at the border with Mexico since February 2021, after Biden took office, but Pew Research notes that global migration was down sharply in 2020 as borders were closed or passage was severely restricted because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Migrant encounters include apprehensions – where a person is taken into custody and held until their case can be adjudicated – and expulsions, Pew says.
Migrants get benefits immediately, Boebert said. “You know who needs benefits? Our veterans.”
In fact, undocumented immigrants, including children brought to the U.S. by their parents, are excluded from receiving most federal public benefits, including Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, sometimes called food stamps; non-emergency Medicaid, and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, according to the National Immigration Forum advocacy group. They may be eligible for benefits deemed necessary to protect life, such as emergency Medicaid and treatment in emergency rooms.
Even legal immigrants do not have full access to federal benefits until they have lived in the U.S. for five years.
She outlined how she’s helped veterans, but a tally by Frisch’s campaign showed that Boebert voted against more than a dozen bills that help them, including a bipartisan one that proposed expanding health care and benefits for veterans exposed to toxins. That bill initially foundered in the Senate, but eventually passed into law after an outcry.
Speaking hours after OPEC + – the original cartel plus other oil-producing nations, notably Russia – announced it would cut back sharply on production, Boebert called on the White House to “unleash (U.S. energy) now.” She didn’t explain what she meant.
Biden has ordered the Department of Energy to deliver “another 10 million barrels from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to the market next month, continuing the historic releases the President ordered in March,” the White House said in a statement after the OPEC+ announcement.
He has also directed Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm to explore “responsible” ways to increase domestic production in the immediate term, and called on U.S. energy companies to continue to narrow the gap between wholesale and retail gas prices “so that American consumers are paying less at the pump,” the statement said.
Boebert covered many more topics in her long, unscripted, sometimes humorous speech, which she preceded with a prayer.
She asked “for favor in the upcoming elections, Father God, that you are removing corrupt politicians and you are installing righteous men and women.”
“It is not an accident that we are here in this moment in history,” she said, using the same Christian nationalist rhetoric as she did in a September speech at the “From Vision to Victory” conference in Woodland Park.
Her language then drew a warning from Philip Gorski, a sociologist and co-director of Yale’s Center for Comparative Research, that Christian nationalism was a danger to democracy, The Denver Post reported.
“There’s an increasing number of people saying ‘We’re in this battle for the soul of America. We’re on the side of good and maybe democracy is getting in the way. Maybe we need to take power and if that means minority rule in order to impose our vision on everybody else then that’s what we’re going to do,’” he said.
Several Boebert supporters said they back her because she defends their freedoms. When they were asked to elaborate, they all mentioned the right to bear arms. Karl Sporleder, the Republican candidate for Huerfano County Commissioner, who was at the rally in Walsenburg, also cited freedom of speech and the right to assemble.
None of them mentioned freedom of religion, but Valdez, the protester in Walsenburg, did, saying
Christians “don’t have the right to tell me or my family how to live our lives.”
“Likewise pro-choice. No one should be involved in what a woman does with her body except that woman and her doctor,” he added.
Pointing to the “No racism, no bigotry, no homophobia, no Boebert” message on his placard, he said he’s “had enough of that crap” and didn’t want it in his town.
Then he flipped the sign over to show the message on the other side: Vote blue.
10/7/22–This article was updated with information on the benefits received by immigrants before the become citizens.