Lauren Boebert's Most Controversial Moments

After Donald Trump shocked the nation to become America's 45th president, candidates from around the country popped up embracing the new Trumpism. One of those was Lauren Boebert, a gun-themed restaurant owner from Rifle, Colorado, who first gained national attention in 2019 after driving three hours to Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke's town hall to confront him over his AR-15 comments. "I was one of the gun owning Americans who heard you speak regarding your 'Hell yes I'm going to take your AR-15s and AK-47s,'" she told him. "Well, I'm here to say, hell no, you're not" (via CBS Denver).

Boebert then went on to defeat the five-term Republican (and Trump endorsed) incumbent and her Democratic challenger to be elected U.S. Representative for Colorado's 3rd Congressional District. She was officially sworn in on January 3, 2021, and released a controversial ad on the same day. In a video posted to Twitter that showed the new Congresswoman loading her Glock and walking through D.C., she wrote: "Let me tell you why I WILL carry my Glock to Congress. Government does NOT get to tell me or my constituents how we are allowed to keep our families safe. I promise to always stand strong for our 2nd Amendment rights."

Now a staple on cable news regardless of political affiliation, Boebert has cemented herself as a right-wing firebrand who, at the time of this writing, has raked in more campaign donations than any of her 2024 challengers. As the title suggests, the controversy didn't stop.

Lauren Boebert threw a mask at a House staffer

In late July 2021, a mask mandate went into effect a second time for all members of Congress. This safety measure garnered pushback from House Republicans, with Speaker Nancy Pelosi trading verbal barbs over the decision with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (via The Washington Post). However, according to reports, Lauren Boebert took her dissatisfaction with the new mask mandate a step further.

Ben Siegel, ABC's White House and Capitol Hill correspondent, revealed that Boebert took her anger out on a lowly House floor staffer. "Rep. Lauren Boebert just threw a mask back at a Democratic floor staffer who tried to give her one, per source on the House floor who saw it happen," he tweeted. "As of last night, the latest House guidance requires mask wearing on the floor and in most group meetings/spaces."

A witness confirmed the alleged incident to CNN's Manu Raju who tweeted out a statement from Boebert's office. "A witness told me they saw GOP Rep. Lauren Boebert throw a mask back at a floor staffer when she was offered one while trying to walk onto the floor maskless. Members can now be fined in the House when maskless," he tweeted. "'Rep. Boebert refuses to comply with Speaker Pelosi's anti-science, totalitarian mask mandate. When offered a mask, she returned it with a quick slide across the table,' Boebert office says. (A witness said she threw it back at [a] staffer's face)."

Lauren Boebert came under fire for her 'Needle Nazis' comments

In response to the Biden administration's "door-to-door" COVID-19 vaccine outreach, Lauren Boebert compared the initiative to both fascism and communism. "Biden has deployed his Needle Nazis to Mesa County," she tweeted. "The people of my district are more than smart enough to make their own decisions about the experimental vaccine and don't need coercion by federal agents. Did I wake up in Communist China?"

Her use of the phrase "Needle Nazis" instantly caught the ire of those claiming it to be inflammatory and invoking the Holocaust. The Colorado Democratic Party wrote a letter to Boebert's office accusing her of "trivializing the Holocaust to score cheap political points" for using that phrasing. "It is insulting to Jewish people who live here in the United States, who live in Israel, and who live abroad as we combat anti-Semitism and anti-Jewish sentiment globally," they added.

The official Twitter account of the Auschwitz Museum responded to Boebert's tweet directly with one of their own. "Instrumentalization of the tragedy of all people who between 1933-45 suffered, were humiliated, tortured & murdered by the hateful totalitarian regime of Nazi Germany to argue against vaccination that saves human lives is a sad symptom of moral and intellectual decline," the museum wrote.

Lauren Boebert's restaurant gave 80 people food poisoning

In 2017, Lauren Boebert served food from her restaurant Shooter's Grill at the Rifle Rodeo. Here's what happened the next day per a 10-page report by the Garfield County Public Health Department: "At approximately 1000 hours on the morning of Tuesday, June 6th, 2017 calls began coming into the Garfield County Public Health (GCPH) Rifle Office ... from people reporting illness involving symptoms of diarrhea and nausea. A total of 17 people called or walked in. The common denominator was people who had attended the Rifle Rodeo ... the only temporary food vendor reported present at the rodeo was an unlicensed temporary retail food establishment associated with Shooter's Grill, a retail food establishment located in downtown Rifle, Colorado."

By the time it was all over, 80 individuals had been stricken with illness after eating sliders served by Boebert. The list of violations was long, including "bare hand contact with ready-to-eat foods, no hand washing station" and only having one set of tongs.

In response to the report, Boebert wrote an op-ed in the Post Independent in which she railed against "undocumented and misinterpreted information" and blamed "fecal matter" found at the fairgrounds. She then apologized, not for the outbreak, but that people were "misled by bits and pieces of stories that were released in an excitement to create some sort of 'news' in our uneventful area." She then closed with a Bible verse.

Is Lauren Boebert's story about why she carries a gun false?

As a staunch pro-gun supporter, Lauren Boebert told a compelling story that led to her becoming an open-carry permit holder in Colorado. According to The Washington Post, Boebert claims her decision to carry a gun was due to the death of a man outside her restaurant. "When I became a business owner, I needed to protect myself. There was an altercation outside of my restaurant where a man was physically beat to death. There were no weapons involved. He was beat to death by another man's hands," she said on the House floor in March 2021.

And in a pro-2A campaign ad the following year, Boebert mentioned the incident again claiming, "After a violent incident outside my business, I took advantage of Colorado's open-carry laws and began to carry at work," she says. However, that incident never happened. The Washington Post fact-checkers found that the man Boebert was referring to — Andrew Green — was involved in a brief physical altercation three blocks away from her restaurant then ran several blocks before collapsing and dying of a methamphetamine overdose. 

The publication notes that Boebert's communication director contacted them but "could not explain why she claims Green was beaten to death outside the restaurant." Boebert then went on the attack. "Washington Post agrees with me that a man got into a fight and died less than a block from my restaurant," she tweeted. "Then assigns three Pinocchios? Jeff Bezos' 'fact checkers' are rapidly becoming tabloids."

Lauren Boebert has ties to right-wing extremist groups

Lauren Boebert embraced far-right extremist groups long before she took office. During her campaign, the Colorado Times Recorder posted a screenshot from the Three Percenters United Patriots stating they had allegedly been "asked to run a small perimeter security detail" for her event in Pueblo. Boebert even posed for photos with the militia group that the Southern Poverty Law Center labels as part of the "antigovernment militia movement."

During the event, Boebert's former campaign manager Sherronna Bishop took a moment "to acknowledge" the Three Percenters. "They've been keeping us safe. These are constitution-loving, freedom-loving, men and women and we thank you so much for being here and for giving us your time today and watching out for us. So thank you so much" (via MMFA). Bishop later posted a video of herself and a member of the Proud Boys, a neofascist organization responsible for organizing the 2017 "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville where three people were killed. "Lauren denounces all forms of violence and racism, and has no connection whatsoever with the Proud Boys," Boebert's campaign told ABC News.

During an interview with RealVail, Boebert seemed to support the militia that stormed the Michigan Capitol to protest Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's stay-at-home public health orders. While stating she would have never done that herself, Boebert said, "I don't see why they're not allowed to," and reiterated that the Second Amendment "is a protection against a tyrannical government."

Did Lauren Boebert help incite the U.S. Capitol attack?

While Trump supporters gathered outside the U.S. Capitol to protest the election results at the "Stop The Steal" rally, Lauren Boebert was giving a speech on the House floor. "Madame Speaker, I have constituents outside this building right now and I promised to be their voice," Boebert said (via The Independent). "It is my separate but equal obligation to weigh in on this election and object."

A short time later, the protestors had stormed the Capitol and Boebert live-tweeted House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's movements during the insurrection leading many to believe she was helping the rioters find their target. The activist group, Rural Colorado United, issued a press release stating that Boebert "betrayed the American people and is a conspirator in the insurrection that occurred at Capitol Hill on January 6th." The group added that she was "unfit to serve" and should be expelled from Congress. Boebert responded, saying, "They 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."

The New York Times stated that several Democratic lawmakers felt unsafe around their Republican colleagues, with Rep. Ayanna Pressley saying, "The second I realized our 'safe room' from the violent white supremacist mob included treasonous, white supremacist, anti masker Members of Congress who incited the mob in the first place, I exited."

Lauren Boebert clashed with Capitol Police over a metal detector

In the wake of the U.S. Capitol attack, the House required all members to pass through a metal detector before entering the chamber. "Effective immediately, all persons, including Members, are required [to] undergo security screening when entering the House Chamber," the Sergeant At Arms said in a statement (via New York Post). Enter Lauren Boebert.

"Congresswoman Lauren Boebert, who has bragged about her desire to carry a weapon on Capital Hill is currently in a standoff with Capitol Police at the newly installed Metal Detectors outside the chamber doors," CNN Congressional correspondent Ryan Nobles wrote in a multi-tweet thread. "Boebert walked through with her bag which set off the mags. She refused to offer the bag over to be searched and is now in a standoff with Cap Police." He added, "Capitol Police won't let her in until Boebert shows them what is in her bag, she won't and is now standing by the entrance of the chamber. She is respectful but defiant."

Boebert also took the opportunity to tweet. "I am legally permitted to carry my firearm in Washington, D.C. and within the Capitol complex," she tweeted. "Metal detectors outside of the House would not have stopped the violence we saw last week — it's just another political stunt by Speaker Pelosi." According to The New York Times, she was "eventually granted access" to the House floor where she immediately objected to calls for Trump's impeachment. 

Does Lauren Boebert support QAnon?

During a May 2020 interview with Steel Truth host and QAnon supporter, Ann Vandersteel, Lauren Boebert was asked if she was aware of the far-right conspiracy theory. "I am familiar with that," Boebert responded. "That's more of my mom's thing, she's a little fringe." When asked if she thought QAnon was "a bad thing," the former Colorado restauranteur had this to say:

"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," she said. "And so everything that I have heard of this movement is only motivating and encouraging and bringing people together stronger, and if this is real, then it could be really great for our country."

A month later, Boebert addressed her comments to Steel Truth while speaking to Colorado's FOX31. "No. I'm not a follower. This is just a fake attack from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee," she said. "QAnon is a lot of things to different people. I was very vague in what I said before. I'm not into conspiracies. I'm into freedom and the Constitution of the United States of America. I'm not a follower." When asked about her alleged support of QAnon by Denver Post reporter Jon Murray in July, Boebert replied, "Glad IG and AG are investigating deep state activities that undermine the President. I don't follow QAnon."

Did Lauren Boebert violate financial disclosure laws?

The AP reports that Lauren Boebert failed to disclose her husband's $460,000 that he received as a consultant for the energy firm Terra Energy Partners in 2019. This information was only made public after she was elected. "The spouse is supposed to disclose the source of all earned income and this doesn't add up with what was in the prior filing," former deputy chief counsel in the Office of Congressional Ethics, Kedric Payne said.

Terra Energy Partners claims that it is "one of the largest producers of natural gas in Colorado" and Boebert's deputy chief of staff, Ben Stout, brushed off the violation. "Mr. Boebert has worked in energy production for 18 years and has had Boebert Consulting since 2012," he said in an email, referencing Boebert's gas-drilling company. "For any other questions regarding the congresswoman's finances, I'd refer you to the disclosure she filed."

Roughly three weeks after the AP report, The Colorado Sun revealed that Boebert removed herself as a registered agent of Boebert Consulting. But her work didn't end there. Jacobin reports that Boebert had written several failed amendments designed to slash regulation on oil and gas companies, including introducing legislation to reverse President Biden's executive order to halt new drilling leases on federal land. Fun fact: Terra Energy has 5,500 natural gas wells in Boebert's district – quite a few on federal land. The company ranks fourth in the country for methane emissions (via The New York Times).

Lauren Boebert violated federal law in the Denver airport

On August 30, 2020, Lauren Boebert posted a video from inside the Denver International Airport while not wearing a mask. In this video, Boebert rants about Trump's impeachment while other travelers (all wearing masks), walk by her. It turns out this was a violation of federal law.

The Denver International Airport's website explains: "While face masks have been required at DEN since May 2020, federal law now requires anyone over the age of 2, to wear a mask at all times in and on airport property. Failure to comply may result in removal from airport property and denial of re-entry. Refusing to wear a mask in or on the airport is a violation of federal law and individuals may be subject to penalties under federal law."

Naturally, Boebert has issues with Democrats who don't wear masks. "Hey @SpeakerPelosi, where's your mask?" she tweeted, accompanied by a photo of Pelosi awaiting a press conference in the White House. All in good faith, we presume.

Lauren Boebert's restaurant defied a public health order

During the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in America, Colorado's Garfield County issued a public health order to limit dine-in service. Lauren Boebert defied that order and allowed patrons to dine at Shooters Grill. In turn, the county obtained a temporary restraining order against the restaurant and hit Boebert with a cease and desist. "Shooter's Grill publicly opens in violation of statewide and local Public Health orders," Garfield County wrote in a press release

"Garfield County obtained a temporary restraining order from the district court Wednesday after filing a complaint regarding ongoing violations of the statewide Safer at Home order by Shooter's Grill in Rifle," they shared. "Owner Lauren Boebert was served with a cease and desist order Tuesday afternoon by law enforcement officials, but continued to operate Tuesday evening, and was open again and providing dine-in service on Wednesday evening, when she was served with the restraining order."

Two days later, they suspended the restaurant's license. Again, Boebert didn't care. "Around the same time that my restaurant was served a cease and desist, Governor Polis was bragging to President Trump about Colorado opening for business. This morning I decided to open on the city street because my employees still need paychecks," she tweeted, along with a photo of her restaurant. "I will not back down!" Boebert told CPR News that the dangers of COVID-19  "does not justify the economic suicide that is taking place."

Lauren Boebert was arrested for attempting to save underage drinkers

During the defund police debate in the wake of George Floyd's murder, Lauren Boebert had a lot to say. "If you want to defund the police, start by behaving," she tweeted. She followed that up with, "Civil order, rule of law, respect, and decency need to be restored!!! Patriotism, loyalty to a shared purpose, basic human values and principles have to be embraced."

However, in 2015, Boebert had a run-in with the police after attempting to help people who had been detained for underage drinking at a festival. Per Colorado News Online, Boebert was screaming that it was an "illegal detention" and had to be "physically push her backwards" by a deputy after she tried to enter the command post. "Lauren continued yelling and causing the underage drinkers to become unruly," a law enforcement statement read. "Lauren's behavior was becoming likely to cause a disorderly response from those in the area attending the concert."

She was eventually placed under arrest, which she first resisted, for disorderly conduct. "Lauren said multiple times that she had friends at Fox News and that the arrest would be national news," the report continued. "Lauren then began stating again that we illegally arrested her and that she was going to have Fox News and every reporter at the court house." After failing to appear twice under the order of a court summons, the Mesa County district attorney's office dismissed the charges.

Lauren Boebert: 'God will remove unrighteous politicians'

While speaking at the Truth & Liberty Coalition conference, a right-wing organization dedicated to promoting Christian beliefs at all levels of government, Boebert openly called for a theocracy.  "We cannot take another 18 months, we cannot take another three years of this poor, failed leadership," she said (via Right Wing Watch). "Are we going to declare that God removes these unrighteous politicians — these corrupt, crooked politicians — and installs righteous men and women of God? It's time the church speaks up."

She added that "we should not be taking orders from the government" and suggested politicians look to religious leaders for advice. "We are sons and daughters of revolutionaries. They went to battle for a lot less. They took a stand for a lot less." According to the Pikes Peak Courier, Boebert claimed that "God wants us to be involved in the affairs of government" because Americans are "being deceived." By what? She was unclear.

Boebert then accused Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of being "mean," and stated her election was a "spiritual battle" in which God will seal her victory in 2024. She then pointed at the Bible and said, "I have a lot of hope for our nation because I've read the end of the book and we win." The Truth & Liberty Coalition's website states that Boebert was invited to "discuss how to get involved in government." 

Did Lauren Boebert misuse campaign funds?

In August 2021, officials from the Federal Election Commission (FEC)  wrote a letter to the treasurer of Lauren Boebert's reelection campaign giving them 60 days to account for four Venmo payments with a total of over $6,000 that were labeled as "personal expense of Lauren Boebert billed to campaign account in error. Expense has been reimbursed."

When pressed by CNBC for comment, the Boebert didn't explain what the payments were for at all. "The Venmo charges were personal expenses that were billed to the campaign account in error. The reimbursement has already happened and will appear in the Q3 filing," Boebert's deputy chief of staff and communications director, Ben Stout said.

This isn't the first time Boebert caught the attention of the FEC. Earlier that year, a watchdog group — Campaign for Accountability — filed a complaint with the federal agency demanding an investigation into mileage reimbursements in the amount of $22,000 Boebert received from her campaign. "Rep. Boebert's mileage claim doesn't pass the smell test," Campaign For Accountability's Executive Director Michelle Kuppersmith told HuffPost. "It's also quite a coincidence that the amount she reimbursed herself is just a little more than the $19,000 in liens she repaid in October 2020." Kuppersmith was referencing the back taxes Boebert paid off three weeks before her election.