Yesterday evening, as the Colorado Sun’s Jesse Paul reports, Colorado’s most consistently controversial Rep. Lauren Boebert issued a rare apology for some of her behavior last Sunday at Denver’s Buell Theater, from which Boebert and her companion were ejected after repeatedly causing “disturbances” to other theatergoers.
“Whether it was the excitement of seeing a much-anticipated production or the natural anxiety of being in a new environment, I genuinely did not recall vaping that evening when I discussed the night’s events with my campaign team while confirming my enthusiasm for the musical,” [Pols emphasis] Boebert’s statement on Friday night said. “Regardless of my belief, it’s clear now that was not accurate. It was not my or my campaign’s intention to mislead, but we do understand the nature of how this looks. We know we will have to work to earn your trust back and it may not happen overnight, but we will do it.”
It’s an apology reminiscent of Ronald Reagan’s sort-of-sorry speech during the Iran-Contra Affair, which has been studied and mimicked by Republican comms folks ever since–‘in my heart I’m not a liar, but I can no longer deny that lies were told by me.’ The only possible legitimate explanation for Boebert not remembering repeatedly pulling a vape pen out of her purse and smoking it would be that she was far too inebriated to be out in public, and that of course raises its own set of problematic questions.
So, there’s that. But while Boebert was drafting and issuing this apology yesterday afternoon focused solely on the indoor vaping, a whole new dimension of the scandal was coming into view–and reported today by multiple national news outlets. Rather than put our own spin on it up front, let’s get right to the roundup with the New York Daily News:
Colorado Congresswoman Lauren Boebert did a bit more than just vape before she was booted from a performance of “Beetlejuice the Musical” in Denver last weekend.
A new surveillance clip obtained by TMZ appears to show the Republican representative getting aggressively handsy with her date during the family-friendly performance, recommended for children ages 10 and up by the The Broadway League.
Security cameras caught Boebert’s male plus-one overtly fondling her breast, prompting her to dip her hand between his legs. The groping continues on for several minutes, with Boebert at one point grinning and squirming about in her seat before she places another hand below her partner’s belt.
FOX News’ Kyle Morris (yes, really):
Footage from the venue was released after the incident took place and showed Boebert vaping and blowing vapor into the air. Other footage shared across social media appeared to show Boebert and the male patron touching each other inappropriately during the show.
Boebert, a Republican representative for Colorado, and a male guest accompanying her were ejected from the musical on 10 September for vaping, recording video and disturbing other patrons during the Sunday performance. Video also showed them eagerly groping each other while in their seats…
The CCTV video also shows Boebert’s guest fondling her breasts after they had taken their seats for the musical performance. Boebert is also seen petting her guest’s crotch in the venue whose patrons often include children and their families. [Pols emphasis]
Another video appears to show Boebert and her male companion fondling each other sexually during the show.
Boebert did not directly address the second video in her Friday apology. She did mention her vaping but claimed that she had previously denied it only because she “did not recall” having done so.
It’s even harder to believe that Boebert doesn’t remember the…interactions with her date during the performance than it is to believe she doesn’t remember repeatedly using her vape pen. The timing of Boebert’s apology Friday evening suggests that Boebert may have been trying to forestall the blowback from this new development by issuing an apology focused solely on the vaping.
Legally, what we saw in this latest video (which you can watch here having been appropriately warned, or after the jump) is at least as troubling as violating Colorado’s Indoor Clean Air Act by vaping in a public theater. Colorado’s public indecency statute states clearly that “lewd fondling or caress of the body of another person” in a public place is a crime. It does not require prudish sensibilities to watch this video and reasonably conclude that their behavior is totally inappropriate in a public theater where children are present.
This is not a moral judgment. These are matters of law, and unless Republicans want to change Colorado’s public indecency statute, the behavior that Boebert engaged in last Sunday has no lawful defense that we can see. Is it ironic that a politician who grandstands about “protecting kids” from supposedly immoral influences like drag shows engaged in a little public indecency of her own?
Yes. But it’s entirely consistent with the story of Boebert’s consummately hypocritical American life.