The Colorado Congresswoman was photographed holding up an AR-15-themed T-shirt last week, on what happened to be the day of the mass shooting in Texas.
Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) is associated most closely with two things: Guns, and trolling. The Colorado Congresswoman formerly owned a gun-themed restaurant called Shooters Grill, and has frequently been photographed with firearms, including on her family Christmas card. Trolling political opponents has long been a big part of Boebert’s public persona.
Boebert combined both this week, to a somewhat tasteless effect.
According to People Magazine, Lauren Boebert was photographed last Saturday posting for a picture with a man, and holding up a t-shirt with a picture of an AR-15-style rifle, and the inscription “Since we’re redefining everything, this is a cordless hole puncher.” The picture was taken during the Congresswoman’s visit to a shooting range.
Saturday was also the day that a mass murder took place in Texas, reportedly by a man with that type of gun who shot and killed five people, one of them a 9-year-old boy. It’s not clear if the picture was taken before or after the shooting took place, but Boebert posted it to social media the following day. The suspect in the case was arrested on Tuesday.
In addition to the gun aspect, the “since we’re redefining everything” appears to be a dig at transgender people, in the tradition of “I identify as…” jokes. It’s also a joke that’s been used before, and also included on different t-shirts with different types of guns. Boebert also recently made headlines for objecting to being described as “cisgender,” describing that term as a “slur.”
To be fair, mass shootings happen so often in the United States that if Boebert had posted that, it’s a good bet it would have happened within a few days of such a tragedy. In 2021, Boebert was criticized for a fundraising email, in which she implied that President Biden was moving to “taking our guns,” shortly after the Boulder supermarket shooting in her home state.
Also in 2021, Lauren Boebert was slammed for another gun-related t-shirt- one she wore that made light of the on-set accident in which a gun held by actor Alec Baldwin shot and killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins. Marty Lindsey, an actor who worked on the film, “Rust,” slammed Boebert’s shirt as “unconscionable” while showing “complete disregard for Halyna and her family.”
And in an interview earlier this year, Boebert accused “the left” of “radicalizing” mass shooters.
“She has no idea that two Colorado actors were cast in this film,” the actor told Colorado Public Radio at the time. “I’m ashamed to say she’s connected to my state.”
Last month, Boebert made some bizarre comments at a speech in Texas.
“I will do what’s right. I don’t care if it costs me an election,” Boebert said at the Texas event. “I don’t care if the school principal gets mad at me or the county commissioners get upset at me, or if the flight attendant kicks me off the plane.
“I will do what’s right and answer the call because without righteous men and women, without patriots taking a stand for this country, our children, and our children’s children will not benefit the blessings of America.”
Boebert won a surprisingly close re-election battle in 2022, against Democrat Adam Frisch. The race, which went to a recount, was the closest House race in the country in that cycle, and Frisch is once again running for the seat. Frisch managed to outraise Boebert by nearly $1 million in the first quarter of 2023, pulling in $1.7 million in the first three months of the year.
“She’s not in Colorado, and looks like she slipped out of DC and the debt ceiling negotiations to hang out in Texas,” Frisch said on Twitter last month while sharing that Texas speech.
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Stephen Silver is a Senior Editor for 19FortyFive. He is an award-winning journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.