Colorado Republicans more willing to criticize Trump after Capitol riot

Colorado Republicans in Congress pushed back Friday on plans for a second impeachment of President Donald Trump, saying doing so in the president’s waning days would further divide the nation.

“Impeachment is a grave remedy, not to be taken lightly, and certainly not to be undertaken as a rushed political stunt,” said Rep. Ken Buck, a Windsor Republican who chairs the Colorado GOP.

“President Trump has exhibited poor behavior, and his refusal to concede his loss in the election ratcheted up the rhetoric and antics on both sides of the aisle. We do not have to defend all of his actions to defend the Constitution of the United States,” the congressman added in a press release.

Buck’s remarks came two days after the president’s supporters rioted at the U.S. Capitol, leaving five people dead and leaving Republicans across the country debating what’s next for the president and their party. In Colorado, state Sen. Kevin Priola, a Henderson Republican, told Colorado Politics that the president should be removed from office before Inauguration Day on Jan. 20.

And Jefferson Thomas, who was Trump’s Colorado campaign manager, said he never imagined rioting could emanate from the Trump movement. “Had I known then that this is how it would end, I never would’ve joined,” he wrote on Twitter.

Not all Trump adherents in Colorado have been critical of him. Rep. Lauren Boebert, a Rifle Republican, condemned the pro-Trump rioters in a social media video Friday, but claimed the rioters were not actually conservatives and equated their actions to riots that followed nationwide racial protests last summer.

Boebert also defended her votes Wednesday and Thursday to throw out presidential election results in Arizona and Pennsylvania. Republicans in Congress from Colorado and elsewhere were divided over whether Congress should overturn the election. Congress ultimately voted to certify Joe Biden’s victory.

“The Constitution calls for a peaceful transfer of power, and, regrettably, many of my Republican colleagues this week took part in an effort to undermine that peaceful transition by objecting to the electoral counting process,” Buck said Friday. “That effort was misguided from the start, and I have voiced my concerns about that attempt to undermine our Constitution and the Electoral College.”

Buck voted to certify Electoral College results this week and has angered some conservatives over the past month by defending Colorado’s elections. But he also signed an amicus brief last month in support of a failed Texas lawsuit that would have thrown out election results in four swing states.

Boebert said in her video Friday that she was proud “to have taken a stand on the Electoral College certification” this week. On Wednesday, she twice compared her attempt at overturning the election to America’s founding revolution in 1776. During a speech on the House floor just before the rioting, Boebert said, “I have constituents outside this building right now. I promised my voters to be their voice.”

Every Colorado Democrat in Congress supports removing Trump from office before Jan. 20, either by impeachment or the 25th Amendment, a never-used procedure that allows Cabinet members to deem the president unfit for office. Boebert said removal of Trump from office is “the last thing we need.”

Meanwhile, small protests occurred outside Boebert’s district offices in Pueblo and on the Western Slope early Friday afternoon to criticize her rejection of the presidential results in Arizona and Pennsylvania. At the Pueblo protest, former state Rep. Bri Buentello, a Democrat, called Boebert a “seditious traitor.”

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