We took note last Friday of a bizarre out-of-the-blue Tweet from Rep. Ken Buck, who also serves as the chairman of the Colorado Republican Party, seemingly threatening violence against Sen. Joe Biden and former Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke with an AR-15 style rifle Buck keeps in his Washington office.
Although we’re sure Buck got plenty of favorable attention from the far right for this spontaneous bit of pro-gun bluster, the reaction from others has been considerably less favorable. Sandy Phillips, mother of an Aurora theater shooting victim, clapped back graphically (trigger warning):
My precious daughter was slaughter with the same type of gun in YOUR state. Shot 6 times with those .223s ripping & tearing through her tiny body. The head shot left a 5 inch hole in her left orbital and blew her brain to bits. So ya. I’ll come & take it off your hands. #****Buck https://t.co/ICst4WEOLJ
— Sandy Phillips (@MamaRedfield) March 6, 2020
Phillips is referring to the .223 Remington rifle cartridge, used by Buck’s rifle as well as the weapon responsible for most of the killing in the 2012 Aurora theater shooting. As KDVR’s Eric Ruble reports, yesterday Rep. Tom Sullivan of Centennial had his own response:
I wanted to showcase what I have in my office as a Colorado elected official.
— Representative Tom Sullivan (@Sully_720) March 10, 2020
The representative posted his response to Buck on his Twitter page Tuesday afternoon. In a video, Sullivan is holding a photo of the gun used to kill his son and the cross that memorialized Alex at the site of the [Aurora theater] shooting.
In the video, Sullivan said, “Congressman Buck, hi. This is Tom Sullivan, state representative House District 37 in your home state of Colorado. This is what’s in my office. This is one of the 12 crosses that they set out by the movie theater the night after my son Alex was murdered in the Aurora theater massacre. This here is the Smith and Wesson MP-15 that murdered my son and 11 others. If you ever feel the need and want to come down and see my office, I suggest you bring Sen. Gardner along with you. This is what it looks like. Feel free to stop by any time.”
Even for a representative who has repeatedly embarrassed himself in the last year making things worse for President Donald Trump while trying his earnest best to defend him, last week was a very tough week reputation-wise for Rep. Ken Buck. Buck was one of only two votes against the bipartisan coronavirus response legislation signed into law by President Trump last week, a half-baked move that left Buck looking deplorably out of touch during an emergency.
It’s possible this unbidden bravado with the assault rifle Buck quite controversially keeps in his Capitol Hill office was meant to distract from Buck’s political self-immolating vote against coronavirus relief. Unfortunately, however, Buck appears to have simply traded one villainous countenance for another. It’s like telling a second tasteless joke because nobody laughed at the first one.
We understand that gun nuts live to wave their guns around, but the state’s highest Republican officials should know they’re not saying these things in a vacuum. Ken Buck makes himself look bad, but as chairman of the Colorado Republican Party and a high-profile GOP member of Congress the damage doesn’t stop with him.