Buck’s Stopped Clock Messing Up The Program

Rep. Ken Buck (R).

The Washington Post’s Aaron Blake took stock late last week of a recent shift in Colorado’s arch-conservative Rep. Ken Buck’s rhetoric concerning the mounting legal tribulations of former President Donald Trump–less in the way of Buck’s former unquestioning, often contorted defense of Trump, transitioning to something like an acknowledgment that Trump is indeed in hot water–while also throwing cold water on the tit-for-tat prospect of impeaching President Joe Biden, the single-minded obsession of Buck’s Colorado colleague Rep. Lauren Boebert:

It’s hardly the first time that a Republican has offered such counterprogramming, calling into question their party’s devotion to Trump and its growing tendencies toward conspiracy theories and bare-knuckle politics. But Buck does so from a rather unusual perch.

Not only is he a member of the House Freedom Caucus, but he’s someone who has long been allied with some of the elements of the party he is now breaking from. He’s played into the idea that Democrats might “steal” elections. He’s floated the idea that global warming is a “hoax.” And there he was the same day as his most recent CNN interview leading the charge against Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, invoking the label “traitor” and later blaming him for Americans dying of fentanyl.

As recently as June, readers will recall, Rep. Ken Buck asserted that Trump’s escalating legal troubles actually gave Trump more credibility, which could be one of the most legally contemptuous statements ever uttered by a former federal prosecutor–even one who like Buck who was reprimanded for his own misconduct. After Trump’s first criminal indictment this year stemming from his “hush money” payments to porn star Stormy Daniels, Buck crossed a line in attacking not just the prosecutor but the grand jury that handed down the indictment–words Buck was forced to eat on live TV in front of CNN’s Jim Acosta. With all of this and Buck’s long blowhard record firmly in mind, no one should accuse Buck of displaying any kind of courage or principle here.

But something undeniably has changed:

He has called into question the wisdom and constitutionality of its impeachment-related efforts; he expressed faith in the FBI and Director Christopher A. Wray as much of his party was pillorying them; and he is among the relatively few Republicans to treat the criminal charges against former president Donald Trump seriously, even saying a conviction would be disqualifying in his mind…

“I think the allegations are very serious. I think there were national security implications from having documents in an unsecure area,” Buck said, adding: “He hid documents, purposefully putting them in a shower, purposely putting them on — on a stage. So there — there clearly is an intent to hide.”

He added that he had “a huge amount of respect” for Justice Department prosecutors and said, “I’m sure they will do the right thing.” He also said he wouldn’t support having “a convicted felon in the White House.”

What we’re being asked to believe is that Buck considers Trump’s alleged mishandling of classified material after leaving office to be more consequential than the hush money payments to Stormy Daniels, which is certainly something Buck could have said before if he had wished to. With more criminal indictments reportedly on the way related to arguably the greatest crime of Trump’s presidency, the attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 elections including incitement of violence on January 6th, 2021 for that purpose, Buck is about have more opportunities to put daylight between himself and Trump if he chooses. But again, coming from a guy who just told us that the more trouble Trump gets in the better with all of these cases in the pipeline, we’re going to hold any positive recognition for this change of heart until it remains consistent for a few news cycles.

The best that can be said in the final judgment may be that Buck belatedly saw reason. It remains to be seen.

Unfortunately, at least as of this writing, Buck’s party has not.

One Community Comment, Facebook Comments

  1. It's easy for Buck to back the DOJ on the docs case; it's not politically fraught and it's a serious set of charges and a sequence of truly petty and stupid actions on Trump's behalf.

    We'll see how he does on the failed autogolpe charges. Those are much more deeply tied in to the Republican base and winner-writes-the-history attitude. Much harder to distance himself from a much larger and more party-tied set of actions.

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