After multiple months of making statewide and national headlines over his pushback on Jan. 6 conspiracies and his role in ousting Kevin McCarthy as speaker of the House, U.S. Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO) announced this week that he will not seek reelection in 2024. In a video he posted to X (formerly Twitter), Buck said a major reason for his departure was the election fraud conspiracy theories promoted by many of his Republican colleagues.
“We lost our way,” Buck said. “We have an identity crisis in the Republican Party. If we can’t address the election denier issue and we continue down that path, we won’t have credibility with the American people that we are going to solve problems.”
Longtime readers of the Colorado Times Recorder will know that, while he has at times opposed some of the fringe elements of his own party, Buck himself has not always been the most credible. In the past, he has even promoted extreme ideologies and conspiracy theories, including strains of the election denialism that he now attacks his own party for.
With Buck set to depart from U.S. Congress, let’s take a moment to look back at the Colorado Times Recorder’s coverage of him over the years.
September 18, 2019 – “They have no evidence that rises to the level of a high crime or misdemeanor,” Buck told KHOW’s Jon Caldara. “They have no evidence that suggests that this president has done anything other than trigger the sensibilities of a bunch of very soft people.”
September 18, 2019 – Speaking to Fox News host Tucker Carlson, Buck, who at the time served as chair of the Colorado Republican Party, claimed: “[Democrats] certainly see urban America as a critical constituency, and there is much sympathy in urban America for some gang members.”
December 20, 2019 – In attacking the so-called deep state, Buck echoed a long-running theme of Trump, who’s long portrayed himself as a victim of deep state operatives.
July 29, 2020 – “I want people to understand that the Republican Party was a party that was born out of the abolition movement, and we are still a party that is doing our very best to fight for freedom for everyone,” Buck told radio host Randy Corporon. “And when you have a governor that orders people in a county to wear a mask under penalty of prosecution and jail in a county that has never had a single case of COVID, that’s the kind of action that takes freedom away from people, and people need to see the stark contrast between how Republicans would govern this state and are governing the country and what the Democrats would do.”
During the same interview, Buck criticized “cancel culture” and the recent removal of monuments and renaming of buildings, football teams, and more that have roots in white supremacy.
April 9, 2021 – “The Left is attempting to cancel an important voice for liberty — The Epoch Times newspaper,” wrote Buck in a fundraising email, spotlighting Buck’s claim that The Epoch Times had its U.S. House Gallery press credentials revoked.
Investigations by NBC, the New York Times and the Atlantic paint a picture of the newspaper as a hotbed of partisanship and pro-Trump misinformation, including promotion of QAnon and election fraud conspiracies.
June 21, 2021 – Buck appeared to raise the conspiracy theory of election fraud, warning the audience that they must not let Democrats “steal elections.” Buck specifically mentioned the need for Republicans to run up a margin of votes to guard against “when their votes come in a day or two later,” seemingly a reference to mail ballots tabulated after Election Day, which President Trump and allies continue to baselessly insist were evidence of Democrats stealing elections in swing states like Georgia and Pennsylvania.
Later, Buck told the Colorado Times Recorder that he does not believe mail ballots are linked to fraud, and that his two consecutive sentences were entirely separate comments.
July 9, 2021 – In a leaked video, Buck claimed without evidence that Google changed its algorithm ahead of the November 2020 presidential election to help Biden and hurt Trump.
“They chose the winner,” he said. “The estimates are they moved 15 million votes.”
Buck went on to say that when Republicans win control of Congress by capitalizing on widespread right-wing outrage over critical race theory and transgender youths on children’s sports teams, they will be able to stop Google’s treachery.
July 23, 2021 – Buck sent a fundraising email to his subscribers with the title “Delete After Reading.” The message was comprised of various appeals to right-wing conspiratorial thinking, including spreading suspicion about the true nature of COVID-19.
“Friend, I need your help,” the message reads. “The Woke Left and Big Tech led by a group of Washington Elites are trying to silence me.
“It sounds crazy, but then again they want us to believe COVID came from a bat, right?”
August 2, 2022 – Buck dismissed criticism of Donald Trump for his role in inciting the Jan. 6 Insurrection.
“I think that certainly, President Trump could have reacted more quickly and more decisively,” Buck said. “I also think that Nancy Pelosi made really critical, critical errors in the days leading up to January 6. And so I think that if there had been a fair evaluation of the circumstances, people would have paid more attention and given it more credit. But right now, I think there’s very little credibility that’s attached to the findings of this commission.”
Buck co-sponsored a proposal to create a voluntary waiting period to purchase a firearm, but ultimately voted against it after its hearing in the House Judiciary Committee.
“I apologize to my friend from Washington [state] for misleading her when I initially co-sponsored this bill,” he said. “I still would like to work on this bill, make it stronger and bring it back — since we have six days left in this Congress, perhaps next Congress — and see if we can’t do something to reduce the number of suicides in this country.”