Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) joined dozens of other lawmakers in slamming a message from Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) mourning the victims of a deadly shooting at an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado late Saturday.
Ocasio-Cortez and others commented on a Twitter post from Boebert to demand that she take accountability for elevating anti-LGBTQ tropes and rhetoric that have fueled similar attacks against LGBTQ bars, restaurants and hospitals this year.
“You have played a major role in elevating anti-LGBT+ hate rhetoric and anti-trans lies while spending your time in Congress blocking even the most common sense gun safety laws,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted in a Sunday afternoon post responding Boebert. “You don’t get to ‘thoughts and prayers’ your way out of this. Look inward and change.”
Boebert tweeted Sunday morning that “The news out of Colorado Springs is absolutely awful,” referring to a mass shooting at Club Q in Colorado Sprints on Saturday that left five dead and 25 wounded, according to local authorities.
“This morning the victims & their families are in my prayers,” Boebert wrote. “This lawless violence needs to end and end quickly.”
Boebert, who appears to have narrowly won reelection in the midterms, has long advocated for the right to bear arms and made headlines with a 2021 campaign ad that appeared to show the congresswoman carrying a handgun around Capitol Hill.
Boebert and her husband, Jayson, have owned a gun-themed restaurant in Rifle, Colo. since 2013. The restaurant, Shooter’s Grill, closed earlier this year after the duo’s landlord declined to renew their lease.
In Congress, Boebert has voted against gun control legislation to create universal background checks for individuals seeking to obtain firearms and has proposed defunding state red flag laws, which temporarily remove weapons from people presenting a danger to themselves or others.
Boebert has been repeatedly criticized by watchdog groups and other lawmakers for perpetuating false narratives about LGBTQ people and spreading inflammatory rhetoric online to her millions of followers.
In August, Boebert responded to a report from the Center for Countering Digital Hate and the Human Rights Campaign that included her Twitter account on a list of high-profile accounts that most frequently spread the false claim that LGBTQ people are “grooming” children with a pledge to increase her posts to claim the number one spot.
Boebert has also denied the existence of transgender people and condemned drag performances that have recently drawn the ire of conservative politicians and right-wing extremist organizations. In April, Boebert suggested that people wait until at least age 21 to come out as LGBTQ, claiming that children and teenagers are not capable of making such “life-altering decisions.”
She has co-sponsored legislation to make it a felony to provide gender-affirming care to transgender youth and to cut federal funding from programs for children that reference “any topic” involving gender identity, sexual orientation or related subjects.
Other members of Congress joined Ocasio-Cortez on Sunday in criticizing Boebert’s tweet to victims of the Club Q shooting and highlighting her track record of spreading anti-LGBTQ hate.
“Your record ‘is absolutely awful,’” Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-N.Y.), one of nine openly gay House members, tweeted Sunday afternoon. “You use hateful rhetoric towards the LGBTQ+ community and helped block even modest efforts to end gun violence.”
Colorado state Rep. Brianna Titone (D), the first transgender person elected to the state legislature, replied to Boebert Sunday morning, writing, “There’s blood on your hands.”
“Thanks for the ‘thoughts and prayers’ but that does nothing to offset the damage that you directly did to incite these kinds of attacks on the LGBTQ+ community,” Titone wrote on Twitter. “You spreading tropes and insults contributed to the hatred for us. Just resign.”