A spokesperson for a prominent Denver Metro Republican club says it won’t remove a post featuring the Proud Boys and QAnon from its Facebook page.
Formerly known as the North Suburban Republican Forum, the Forum has served as a local club of the Colorado GOP encompassing Adams County and the broader north metro region since 1995.
The meme features a photo originally taken by photojournalist John Rudoff of Proud Boy leaders Enrique Tarrio and Joe Biggs.
A QAnon logo, the words “Q Sent Me,” and the acronym “WWG1WGA,” which stands for the QAnon slogan “Where We Go One, We Go All” are superimposed the photo.
During the Trump administration, the FBI classified the conspiracy group QAnon as a “domestic terror threat” and the Proud Boys as an “extremist group with ties to white nationalism.”
Federal law enforcement charged both Tarrio and Biggs with crimes related to the Jan. 6 insurrection. Biggs, who live-streamed himself inside the Capitol building, potentially faces decades in prison. Tarrio was already in jail during the riot, having been arrested on Jan. 4 on weapons and destruction of property charges. He pled guilty on Monday and is now serving a five-month prison sentence.
In an unsigned email, the group’s spokesperson says it won’t remove the meme, insisting that the quote attributed Candace Owens that appears below the image is a significant part of the post.
“The post is about a Candace Owens quote,” said the spokesperson. “‘What the left fears more than anything are white people and black people coming together and loving their country.’ “Quit trying to read conspiracy things into innocent posts. “Are you implying that we should’ve censored it, like the left-leaning Facebook “fact checkers” or Twitter censorship idiots? “If that’s the case, why are the CCP [Chinese Communist Party], Iran’s Ayatollah, the Taliban, and other enemies allowed to post any and everything on social media? That’s a much better question that needs to be answered. But thank you for writing and following The Forum.”
The Forum hosts monthly meetings featuring prominent Republican speakers; State GOP Chair Kristi Burton Brown headlined the July event.
Prominent Republican officials among the group’s 533 Facebook members include CU Regent Heidi Ganahl, former state Treasurer Walker Stapleton, former Secretaries of State Scott Gessler and Wayne Williams, state Sens. Kevin Priola (R-Brighton) and Barbara Kirkmeyer (R-Weld County), former state Sen. Owen Hill (R-Colorado Springs), Colorado RNC Committeeman Randy Corporon, and longtime Adams GOP activist Maria Del Carmen Guzman-Weese, who just received the National Republican Senatorial Committee’s Champion of Freedom award.
This isn’t the first time this meme has appeared on a local Colorado GOP Facebook page. In February the Colorado Springs Republican Women shared it. Hours after the Colorado Times Recorder reached out for comment, the group’s president, Vickie Tonkins, who also chairs the El Paso County Republican Party, replaced it with a new version displaying only the Owens quote. She also said she’d mistakenly shared a “doctored” image, referring to the QAnon logo added to the photo in the original meme.
This article first appeared in the Colorado Times Recorder.