Lauren Boebert first gained notoriety back in 2019 as the pint-sized, gun-toting citizen who confronted Beto O’Rourke over his “hell yes” pledge to take our AR-15s and AK-47s. Since then, of course, Boebert has been elected twice to the US House of Representatives, where her behavior — “clashing with Capitol Police after setting off metal detectors,” feuding with Marjorie Taylor Greene on the House floor — habitually makes headlines.
Yesterday, news broke that Boebert and a companion had been escorted out of a musical adaptation of Beetlejuice in Denver for “vaping, singing, recording and ‘causing a disturbance’ during the performance.” Surveillance video also reportedly shows Boebert flipping someone the bird on her way out of the theater.
A lengthy Politico profile, meanwhile, chronicles how, when she’s back in her home district in rural Colorado, Boebert is “diverging from the Freedom Caucus rabble-rouser she’s known as on the Hill” and ditching “the MAGA thing in Colorado.”
In the wake of “another near-death electoral experience,” reports the magazine, “Boebert has made a subtle, but unmistakable, shift in her strategy” to one that is less “Washington firebrand” and more “bring-home-the-bacon pol.”
As for her antics at the Beetlejuice performance, well… you can take the representative out of Rifle, Colorado, but can you really take the Rifle out of the rep?
On our radar
AI ON THE HILL This morning, Tesla’s Elon Musk, Microsoft’s Bill Gates, Meta’s Mark Zuckerberg, OpenAI’s Sam Altman and other tech geek-entrepreneurs met with Republican and Democratic senators on Capitol Hill. The meeting, though, was behind closed doors, inviting skepticism from critics.
RUSSIAN ROULETTE Vladimir Putin held talks with North Korea’s Kim Jong-un, worrying US officials about a potential arms deal between Pyongyang and Moscow. Meanwhile this morning, Ukraine launched a major attack on Russian-occupied Crimea, targeting Russian naval ships.
WAPO: DON’T RUN, JOE Washington Post columnist David Ignatius joins a growing faction of disgruntled liberal pundits, saying that Biden should not seek reelection. In his latest opinion piece, Ignatius argues that by running again the president risks undoing his greatest achievement — stopping Trump.
The messy Ken Paxton trial
Texas’s impeachment trial for MAGA favorite Attorney General Ken Paxton — a trial which, unlike those in DC, could actually result in the removal of the powerful politician — has entered the final stages. The star witness has emerged: Paxton’s former mistress, who was hired by developer and major Paxton donor Nate Paul in what critics and former staffers of the AG maintain was an obviously corrupt act. She showed up to the Capitol building wearing all white, a statement dress to be sure, and was set to testify at 9 a.m. But Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, the presiding officer, ruled she had not been on the witness list long enough to testify — delaying her testimony until this afternoon, and running up against the planned end of the trial. Her bag, from the Gucci/Balenciaga collaboration, was both expensive and kitschy — perfect for a politically charged trial that has focused on remodeling, insurance adjusters, and petty workplace gripes.
For those who don’t find the proceedings juicy enough already — which, how could you not, considering Patrick’s wife is a state senator sitting through the whole thing, and that Patrick’s high-dollar attorney is so tanned that he has drawn comparison to an Oompa Loompa — a central part of the scandal has turned out to be Paxton’s insistence that his staff get involved in litigation regarding a charitable trust that Paul was accused of defrauding to the tune of millions. The trust in question: the Mitte Foundation, whose president is RJ Mitte, the actor who played Walt Jr. on Breaking Bad… a show in which his character unintentionally set up a fraudulent charity as a slush fund.
McCarthy’s impeachment playbook
Speaker Kevin McCarthy is rejecting charges of hypocrisy on impeachment. Democrats and the media say McCarthy should not move forward on an impeachment inquiry into alleged Biden corruption without a vote on the House floor, particularly since he previously criticized former speaker Nancy Pelosi for doing the same thing to Trump. McCarthy is trying to save face, though, by turning this into his Mitch McConnell moment. The Senate GOP leader made good on his promise that Harry Reid would come to regret suspending the filibuster for judicial appointments by, nearly a decade later, quickly filling vacancies during the Trump administration. McCarthy similarly is happy to use Pelosi’s power grab against her. When asked if he is being hypocritical on the impeachment probe, McCarthy asserted, “I’m not, because [Pelosi] changed the precedent.”
Mitt Romney not seeking reelection
Mitt Romney will not seek reelection in 2024. “At the end of another term I’d be in my mid-eighties. Frankly, it’s time for a new generation of leaders,” the 2012 presidential nominee said in a video statement released this afternoon. “While I’m not running for reelection, I’m not retiring from the fight,” he added.
Romney, the face of Republican prudence for some and the RINO-in-chief for others, is making the move at a time when calls for the retirement of geriatric politicians continue to grow. Romney, a youthful seventy-six-years-old and a relative youngster compared to many of his colleagues, is sending a clear signal that might (though won’t) inspire other golden-agers in American politics, especially the one in the White House.
–Juan P. Villasmil