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Just days into her new job as a congresswoman from Colorado, Republican Rep. Lauren Boebert has drawn attention for her tweets, her resistance to some security protocols at the Capitol, and her intent to carry her firearm into the Capitol building.
Democratic lawmakers have also chastised Boebert for tweeting about House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s movements during the Jan. 6 Capitol riots.
Before her election, Boebert gained national attention for appearing to be open to the QAnon conspiracy theory. In a May interview, Boebert said that "everything that I’ve heard of Q, I hope that this is real, because it only means America is getting stronger and better and people are returning to conservative values, and that’s what I am for."
But later, in October, she told a Colorado TV news station: "I’m not a follower of QAnon."
PolitiFact reviewed some of her latest claims made on the House floor, on Twitter and in a Jan. 11 statement.
Claim: "The hypocrisy of the left is on full display … ‘Take him behind the gym and beat the hell out of him.’ ... Sound familiar?"
Boebert’s claim goes back to remarks Joe Biden made in reaction to Trump’s lewd comments about women, caught in an "Access Hollywood" video before Trump became president. The 2005 video surfaced weeks before 2016’s Election Day.
"The press always asks me, don't I wish I were debating him?" Biden said in October 2016. "No, I wish we were in high school, I could take him behind the gym. That's what I wish."
Biden made similar remarks during a March 2018 event at the University of Miami: "They asked me if I'd like to debate this gentleman, and I said, 'No.' I said, 'If we were in high school, I'd take him behind the gym and beat the hell out of him’."
In a podcast interview later that month, Biden said he "shouldn’t have said what I said."
Claim: "What about the gentlewoman from New York who defended the looting by saying looters just wanted loaves of bread."
Boebert misrepresented what Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-.N.Y., said about an uptick in New York crime.
In July 2020, Ocasio-Cortez offered several reasons why crime could be increasing in New York during a virtual town hall, among them: "Maybe this has to do with the fact that people aren't paying their rent and are scared to pay their rent and so they go out and they need to feed their child and they don't have money. … They are put in a position where they feel like they either need to shoplift some bread or go hungry."
Claim: "I am legally permitted to carry my firearm in Washington, D.C. and within the Capitol complex."
This needs context. In another tweet, Boebert said she had a concealed carry permit issued by the District of Columbia Metropolitan Police. The law in D.C. says that a person needs to be licensed to carry a concealed firearm; open carry is prohibited.
In the Capitol complex, members of Congress are allowed to keep firearms in their offices and to transport them within Capitol grounds "unloaded and securely wrapped," according to regulations from the Capitol Police Board. Lawmakers are prohibited from taking firearms inside the House and Senate chambers.
Federal law prohibits the general public from carrying firearms on Capitol grounds.
Claim: Democrats "accuse me of live-tweeting the Speaker’s presence after she had been safely removed from the Capitol, as if I was revealing some big secret, when in fact this removal was also being broadcast on TV."
Some Democratic lawmakers have criticized Boebert for tweeting about Pelosi during the riots at the Capitol. That day, Boebert tweeted at 2:17 p.m. that members were locked in the House chamber. She tweeted an update a minute later: "The Speaker has been removed from the chambers."
Boebert’s office said this was also obvious based on the video airing on C-SPAN. Around 2:14 p.m. Pelosi recognized Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., for his chance to speak on the House floor. About two minutes into his speech objecting to Arizona’s Electoral College votes, Gosar looked straight up and began to say "Madam Speaker" — but then corrected himself to say "Mr. Speaker" — and asked for order in the room. The C-SPAN video showed that Pelosi was no longer at the speaker’s chair.
Boebert’s press office told PolitiFact that Pelosi and Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass., changed seats in the middle of Gosar’s speech and that chaos ensued.
"The C-SPAN video also shows shouting and other high-level members of Congress being escorted out of the chamber. People can be heard yelling to lock the doors before the House goes into recess and the cameras are shut off. Anyone watching C-SPAN at the time realized that the Speaker was in the Chair when Rep. Gosar started his speech and that the Speaker was no longer in the chair at the end of his speech and had been removed from the chamber," Boebert’s press office said.
Boebert’s office offered a statement from the congresswoman that said she "never disclosed secure locations."
Claim: "The reality is that Joe Biden didn’t condemn antifa when he had a chance to."
We rated False a similar claim fromTrump. We’ve found that Biden has condemned antifa, a term used for a collection of far-left, anti-fascist groups that rally against white supremacy and other causes, at times resorting to violence.
A reporter for WGAL, an NBC affiliate in Pennsylvania, asked Biden early September whether he condemned antifa. "Yes, I do, violence no matter who it is," Biden said. Biden on several occasions also has denounced violence, arson and looting tied to protests against excessive use of force by police.
Boebert’s office sent links to a Wall Street Journal opinion piece and an article on the National Review, which said that during a late September debate with Trump, Biden described antifa as "an idea, not an organization." Biden during the debate said he was citing FBI Director Chris Wray’s characterization of antifa. The debate moderator, Fox News’ Chris Wallace, during the debate did not directly ask Biden to condemn antifa. Biden didn’t offer a direct condemnation either, though he said "violence in response is never appropriate, never appropriate. Peaceful protest is, violence is never appropriate."
Claim: "Kamala Harris spent much of the summer helping those arrested for violent behavior post bail and get back on the streets as quickly as possible."
This is misleading. Harris in June asked people on Twitter to chip in to the Minnesota Freedom Fund "to help post bail for those protesting on the ground in Minnesota." The nonprofit pays bail for low-income people. As we reported in June, not all who were arrested during demonstrations following the death of George Floyd were rioting or engaged in violent behavior. People arrested included curfew violators, working press and others.
Harris in the summer of 2020 said she supported peaceful protesters, and urged to "not confuse them with those looting and committing acts of violence."
Claim: Pelosi "encouraged uprisings all over the country."
This needs context.
In June 2018, Pelosi spoke out against the Trump administration’s policy of separating migrant children from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border. She told reporters that an association of evangelicals said in testimony to Congress that the U.S. refugee resettlement system was the "crown jewel of American humanitarianism."
"And in order to do away with that crown jewel, they're doing away with children being with their moms," Pelosi said. "I just don't even know why there aren't uprisings all over the country. And maybe there will be, when people realize that this is a policy that they defend."
The context of Pelosi’s quote shows that she used the word "uprising" but did not instruct that violence be part of it.
Boebert’s office also linked PolitiFact to a June 2020 letter that Pelosi and Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., sent Trump asking him to reopen Lafayette Square in Washington, D.C., the area where federal officers cleared protesters using chemical irritants. The letter said that the square had long been a place where Americans freely express their constitutional rights and urged Trump to "tear down these walls, reopen Lafayette Square, and allow the public to gather there for you and all the world to hear their voices."
The point of the letter was to get Trump to open up the square so people could gather; it did not green light violence.
Claim: Democrats "objected in 2001, 2005 and 2017" to Electoral College certification.
Boebert is right that some House Democrats objected to Electoral College certifications in 2001, 2005, and 2017. But those attempts were notably different from the one Republicans charged in 2021. The Democratic presidential nominees in those cases — Al Gore, John Kerry, and Hillary Clinton — had already conceded their loss.
Trump, on the other hand, refused to concede and encouraged the objections.
In 2017, several House Democrats cited voter suppression and objected to the certification of Trump’s Electoral College victory in several states. But without a single senator supporting their challenge, the objections were not debated and went nowhere.
In 2005, two Democrats — Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones of Ohio and Sen. Barbara Boxer of California — objected to Ohio’s electoral votes for George W. Bush, saying there had been voting irregularities. Both chambers held debates and rejected the objection.
In 2001, after the contest between Bush and Gore, several House Democrats objected to the certification of Florida’s Electoral College votes, arguing that Black voters had been disenfranchised in the election. No senator supported their objection.
Email interview, Rep. Lauren Boebert’s press office, Jan. 13, 2021
Rep. Lauren Boebert’s website, Rep. Boebert Condemns Violence and Highlights Democrat Hypocrisy, Jan. 11, 2021
CSPAN, House session Jan. 6, 2021
The New York Times, A Republican Lawmaker for Whom the Spectacle Is the Point, Jan. 13, 2021; Over Some Objections, Congress Certifies Electoral Vote, Jan. 7, 2001
U.S. Capitol Police, Prohibited Items
PolitiFact, Counting the electoral votes on Jan. 6: What you need to know, Jan. 4, 2021
PolitiFact, Barr says federal police didn’t use chemical irritants to clear area by DC church. They did, June 8, 2020
PolitiFact, No, Joe Biden’s campaign didn’t donate $20 million to bail out protesters, June 3, 2020
PolitFact, Quotes by 4 Democrats twisted to make it look like they endorsed riots, Jan. 7, 2021
Reuters, Kamala Harris condemns looting, violence in wake of police shooting, Aug. 27, 2020
PolitiFact, Trump campaign is wrong — Biden has repeatedly condemned violence tied to protests, Sept. 3, 2020
PolitiFact, Ask PolitiFact: What is antifa, and why is it all over my timeline?, July 2, 2020
Wall Street Journal, Why Didn’t Biden Condemn Antifa and Bernie Sanders?, Oct. 1, 2020
National Review, Biden Says Antifa Is ‘An Idea, Not An Organization’ during Presidential Debate, Sept. 29, 2020
WGAL.com, One-on-one interview with Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, Sept. 7, 2020
RealClearPolitics.com, Pelosi: "I Don't Even Know Why There Aren't Uprisings All Over The Country" Over Migrant Child Separation, June 14, 2018
RollCall.com, Trump Election Is Made Official Over Scattered Objections, Jan. 6, 2017
Twitter, @SpeakerPelosi tweet, June 8, 2020
Twitter, @KamalaHarris tweet, June 1, 2020
Twitter, @RepSwalwell tweet, Jan. 11, 2021
Twitter, @BrianSchatz tweet, Jan. 11, 2021
Twitter, @thehill tweet, July 12, 2020
Twitter, @RightWingWatch tweet, May 18, 2020
The Washington Post, In ad, lawmaker vows to carry her Glock around D.C. and on Hill, Jan. 4, 2021
AP, FBI director says antifa is an ideology, not an organization, Sept. 17, 2020
The Washington Post, In ad, lawmaker vows to carry her Glock around D.C. and on Hill, Jan. 4, 2021
Fox21News.com, Lauren Boebert addresses COVID, Wildfires, and QAnon, Oct. 28, 2020
YouTube, CNN - Biden: I would 'beat the hell' out of Trump if in high school, March 21, 2018
The Guardian, Biden: I regret saying I'd 'beat the hell' out of Trump for making lewd remarks, March 29, 2018
The Washington Post, Trump recorded having extremely lewd conversation about women in 2005, Oct. 8, 2016
Politico, Biden suggests he wants to beat up Trump, Oct. 21, 2016
Metropolitan Police Department, General Requirements for Firearms Registration