Former Congressman Tom Tancredo has identified a new thorn in the side of the Colorado Republican Party and perhaps it takes one to know one.
Throughout his tenure as a representative from 1999 to 2009, Tancredo ostracized many moderate conservatives for his sensational comments, such as calling Miami a third-world country, and his opposition to former President George Bush. During his 2014 bid for governor, several colleagues suggested that Tancredo stop his campaign for the good of the party. After an unsuccessful presidential campaign in 2008, and bids in the 2010, 2014, and 2018 Colorado gubernatorial elections, Tancredo became a pundit, appearing on various far-right media shows and writing columns. Tancredo is known for a constant stream of controversy and his tirades against “multiculturalism” and illegal immigration.
On Sept. 16, he appeared as a guest on KNUS radio’s Wake Up with Randy Corporon to talk about U.S. Rep. Ken Buck’s (R-CO) recent clash with Vice Chairman of the El Paso Republican Party Todd Watkins.
The recent tension between Buck and Watkins comes after Watkins released a letter circulated by the Colorado GOP that made false claims about the detention of Jan. 6 defendants. Buck authored a four-page document that refuted claims of violations of 4th, 5th, and 6th Amendment rights, defendants being imprisoned without being charged, and politically motivated violence against them.
Buck’s response elicited the ire of U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) who rebuked Buck on the social media platform X. “Ken Buck’s letter to Mr. Watkins of the El Paso County GOP appeared to show full support of Biden’s Weaponized Government and a total disconnect from the cruel reality of J6 defendants and the American people,” Greene wrote on Sept. 5.
Along with Corporon, who is a Republican National Committeeman, Tancredo joined Greene’s tirade against Buck’s supposed disloyalty to the party.
Tancredo described Buck in several disparaging ways, calling him an “advocate for the left and apologist for the Department of Justice,” the “token Republican [Democrats] love,” and “Liz Cheney here in Colorado.”
Tancredo added that he did not think Buck, who is facing a possible primary challenge from state Rep. Richard Holtorf (R-Akron), was quite at the level of former U.S. Rep. Cheney (R-WY) yet, but “that is the direction he is going.” Cheney is widely considered a pariah of the Republican party for her vote to impeach President Trump and was voted out of office in 2022. But Buck has defended Cheney.
Buck is reportedly considering leaving Congress to become a cable news commentator.
Tancredo and Corporon spent the rest of the show trading various conspiracy theories, referring to the pandemic as the “COVID-19 hoax,” calling President Biden a child sniffer, and framing the deaths of Ashli Babbitt and Rosanne Boyland on Jan. 6 as murders. At one point, Tancredo compared the Jan. 6 trials to Nazi sentencing of dissidents during World War II.
Tancredo’s comments about Buck, including his statement that Buck wanted to become the “most liberal Republican of the Colorado delegation,” illustrate the ongoing rift between moderate and far-right Republicans.
On Monday, Watkins took the opportunity to defend his original letter and comment on Buck’s future as an elected official. “I would say when we see what is happening it’s not just Democrat DNA on this stuff,” Watkins said on The Chuck and Julie Show. “There are a lot of, you know, so-called Republican fingerprints on these things.”
Referencing the next assembly of Buck’s district, Watkins suspects that there will be a price to be paid for diverging from far-right narratives surrounding Jan. 6.
“I’ll take them at their word that his constituents are saying, ‘Nope, we’re done. He needs to get primaried.’”