GOP Lawmaker Fresh From D.C. Riots Has “Laryngitis?”

Rep. Ron Hanks (R).

The Colorado Springs Gazette reported Friday on a mystery that emerged last week surrounding newly sworn-in Republican Rep. Ron Hanks, who disappeared after the first day of last week’s abbreviated opening of the Colorado General Assembly and hasn’t been seen since:

The Penrose Republican missed every vote on all seven bills that went through the General Assembly in the first week, including being gone when some of those bills went through a committee he’s assigned to: House State, Civic, Military and Veterans Affairs…

It’s beyond unusual for a first-term lawmaker to miss so many days early on, and Hanks has not returned phone calls or emails from the press about his whereabouts.

Curiously, this story makes no mention of what Rep. Hanks was doing before being sworn in to the state legislature last week–as we discussed in this space, and the Denver Post’s Saja Hindi reports in her own story this past weekend on Hanks’ absence from the legislature:

A newly elected Colorado Republican lawmaker who attended the president’s Jan. 6 rally [Pols emphasis] has been absent for the majority of the three-day legislative session that started Wednesday…

House Minority Whip Rod Pelton, a Cheyenne Wells Republican, said Hanks informed him he had a “prior commitment” Wednesday. Members are expected to inform the whip of any absences.

House Minority Leader Hugh McKean, R-Loveland, said he reached out to Hanks on Thursday. On Friday morning, Hanks texted him and told him he was feeling “under the weather.” McKean did not ask for further details.

Let’s review: Rep. Ron Hanks traveled to Washington, D.C. to attend the January 6th rally that degenerated into a violent insurrection attempt and deadly assault on the U.S. Capitol. Our readers know this, but apparently it was news to the Gazette. Hanks then appeared at the Colorado state capitol to be sworn in one week later, only to disappear after being sworn in. Hanks was then absent through the legislature’s temporary month-long adjournment Friday to avoid the COVID-19 pandemic. And only after a good deal of sleuthing by reporters, we find out that Hanks texted GOP Minority Leader Hugh McKean that he’s “under the weather?”

Folks, if every epidemiological alarm bell is not going off in your head right now, 2020 must have passed by without you noticing.

But it’s okay, because as the Gazette continues in their story that somehow managed to forget that Hank had just returned from Washington, D.C., where literally thousands of maskless Trump supporters had exchanged clouds of droplets with one another while protesting/rioting/insurrecting against Donald Trump’s election defeat:

However, as it turns out, there’s a good explanation. According to several sources, including Rick Castor, chair of the Fremont County GOP, Hanks has laryngitis. [Pols emphasis] While he notified Minority Whip Rep. Rod Pelton, R-Cheyenne Wells, that he wasn’t well on Wednesday, he didn’t know he was supposed to check in each day to let people know he wasn’t coming and to be excused, an easy slip-up for a first-term legislator to make.

And then in a final gobsmacking moment of unintended irony:

Minority Leader Hugh McKean, R-Loveland, is glad that Hanks is taking care of himself. If people have learned anything from COVID, it’s that you don’t come to work sick, [Pols emphasis] McKean told Colorado Politics, and he confirmed that he knew Hanks was under the weather.

Rep. Hanks was at the Capitol on Wednesday. That means he did “come to work sick,” or at least by any reasonable COVID-19 pandemic standard in a state where he may well have been contagious. After traveling to Washington D.C., Hanks should have quarantined himself simply out of preventative caution–but obviously, following COVID-19 best practices was very far down the priority list for these people.

It is legitimately shocking that the connection between Hanks’ recent travel and his coming down with any kind of upper respiratory symptom a week later is being idly dismissed as “laryngitis” with some bogus platitudes about how it’s good he didn’t “come to work sick.” With such an obvious transmission vector, why is anyone taking Hanks’ self-diagnosis of “laryngitis” at face value? Who was in close contact with Hanks when he was at the Capitol on Wednesday? Has Rep. Hanks even had a COVID-19 test since he returned from Washington? Why are we the only outlet asking these questions?

The one thing we can say is it’s a big relief the legislature has adjourned until everybody who has to be there as part of their job has been vaccinated. Prevention, after all, is only as strong as its weakest link. Not only is Rep. Ron Hanks kicking off his legislative career with an embarrassing display of COVIDiocy, it’s clear there’s nobody in charge on the right side of the aisle looking out for the health of fellow lawmakers and the public.

Until you’ve had your jabs, keep a safe distance from all such people.

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16 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Voyageur says:

    Is Hanks related to anti-abortion crusader Leslie Hanks?

  2. The realist says:

    The Republican Party in the largest county in his district – Fremont – had better be having a heart-to-heart talk with him. This kind of "representation" is unacceptable. Do not run for public office if you're going to refuse to be accountable to the public, either through the news media or directly.

  3. davebarnes says:

    We can only hope it is similar in outcome to Andropov’s cold.

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  5. High Valley Lurker says:

    So, he really has been seen on Denver’s Capitol hill?

    I’m asking, because otherwise, this whole disappearing for awhile and then coming up with a lame excuse like laryngitis is exactly the sort of thing I would have done as a leftist protestor when I’d traveled to another city to get involved in a protest and I want my friends to tell my boss a story to cover for me so I don’t get fired because I’m stuck in jail in DC. Yep, that sounds exactly like the story my friends would have told to try to cover for me.

    So, he’s really been seen in Denver? He’s not stuck in jail under some other name?

  6. ohwilleke says:

    You know, your own partisan caucus doesn’t fight bad behavior nearly a strong as they do in Congress because if you resign or are expelled, your own party gets to replace you with a partisan vacancy committee maintaining the balance of power and minimizing the vacancy time period (one of the great innovations of Colorado’s General Assembly for what it is worth).

  7. ohwilleke says:

    There is a handy compilation of January 6 and inauguration related criminal charges with defendant names at https://www.lawfareblog.com/compiling-criminal-charges-following-capitol-riot

    • kwtree says:

      That’s a gold mine, ohwilleke. Thanks for posting. How many of these peabrains took selfies or posted live to YouTube while they ransacked the Capitol? Or mugged for the cameras they knew were there? Apparently, most of them. Made it easier for law enforcement to charge them. 
       

       

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