Lauren Boebert, last seen engaging in lewd acts before she was kicked out of a touring musical, offered an amendment to reduce the salary of a specific Defense Department official.
Lauren Boebert, Now What?
Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) made headlines and drew mockery earlier this month for an incident in which she was kicked out of a touring production of “Beetlejuice: The Musical,” after vaping in front of a pregnant woman, taking flash photography, and engaging in some consensual touching with a male companion.
This week, Boebert was up to more of her usual, but much worse actions: Performing a pointless stunt, in the service of naked, malicious bigotry.
Both were on display Wednesday, when Boebert rose during a House debate over 2024 defense spending to propose dropping the salary of Shawn G. Skelly, the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Readiness and a trans woman, to $1.
A 20-year veteran of the U.S. Navy who holds a master’s degree in National Security and Strategic Studies from the U.S. Naval War College, Skelly is not especially well-known and has not generally been a figure of controversy, although she did speak out against former President Trump’s proposal to ban trans service members from the military. While Rachel Levine, a top official in the Department of Health and Human Services who is also both a military veteran and a transgender woman, has emerged as a frequent target of conservative vitriol — including from Boebert herself —Skelly has not, at least until now.
Boebert offered an amendment Wednesday to reduce Skelly’s salary. Throughout the speech, she referred to Skelly with male pronouns, emphasized the word “Mister,” and, for some reason, mispronounced her last name as “Kelly” on first mention.
“Like many of Biden’s bureaucrats, Mr. Skelly is failing at his job and the basic responsibilities,” and blamed Skelly for the armed forces falling short of recruiting goals and for the circumstances of the withdrawal from Afghanistan. Boebert did not provide any reason to believe that Skelly is in any way uniquely responsible for either of those things.
Boebert also noted that Skelly had been named to Biden’s “transition team,” likely solely so she could make a feeble joke about “transition.”
“This delusional man thinking he is a woman, embodies and espouses the wokism that’s causing significant harm to our military readiness and troops’ morale!,” Boebert declared, further pushing the bogus narrative about a “woke military.”
The amendment is clearly a nonstarter, as Skelly’s salary is not going to be reduced to $1. It was clearly only done as a grandstanding stunt by someone setting a personal new low for shameful behavior, when the bar was pretty low as it was. It was also something of a waste of time, with a government shutdown likely just days away.
Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN) then reacted, to rise in “the strongest opposition to this amendment,” adding that “people deserve to be treated with dignity and respect when being addressed,” going on to refer to Skelly with the accurate pronouns.
“I am a little upset because the lack of respect that has been shown to Secretary [Skelly] by the last speaker is surprising to me, on this House floor,” McCollum added, although she also mistakenly stated Skelly’s surname as “Kelly.”
Boebert, back in August, had introduced amendments to slash the salaries of four different Department of Defense officials, including Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, Skelly, and two others. Boebert’s statement at the time blamed the officials for what she called “the implementation of a woke agenda which has weakened our military and caused recruitment to suffer,” although she did not, at the time, single out Skelly for being transgender.
Americans are very much divided when it comes to what they think about various questions related to transgender rights. But there’s also plenty of evidence that voters are very much turned off by the sort of bullying and discrimination wielded by Boebert in her attack Wednesday.
Author Expertise and Experience
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. Stephen has authored thousands of articles over the years that focus on politics, technology, and the economy for over a decade. Follow him on X (formerly Twitter) at @StephenSilver, and subscribe to his Substack newsletter.
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