House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy headlined a fundraiser last week for Lauren Boebert, a candidate in Colorado's Third Congressional District who has embraced QAnon conspiracy theories.
Just weeks before, McCarthy had said there was no room in the Republican Party for the widely debunked and dangerous movement.
Boebert, a gun-rights activist who made headlines in May for refusing to shut down her gun-themed restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, to comply with COVID-19 rules, upset incumbent Rep. Scott Tipton in the Republican primary on June 30.
In a June podcast interview, she embraced the QAnon conspiracy theory according to which a ring of powerful public officials — mostly Democrats — are running an international child-trafficking cabal and working to destroy Donald Trump.
"Everything I've heard of Q — I hope this is real, because it only means America is getting stronger and better, and people are returning to conservative values, and that's what I am for," Boebert said in June. "And so everything that I have heard of this movement is only motivating and encouraging and bringing people together stronger, and if this is real, then it could be really great for our country."
The FBI has labeled QAnon a domestic terrorism threat.
The invitation to the $250-a-person fundraising reception at an unspecified Aspen location noted that Rep. Ken Buck was a member of the host committee. McCarthy was identified as the event's "special guest." In fine print at the bottom, invitees were warned that by attending they would be agreeing to waive their right to sue the campaign if they contracted the coronavirus at the event.
Neither McCarthy's office nor Boebert's campaign immediately responded to inquiries for comments for this story.
McCarthy's participation seemed to contradict his previous statements.
In an interview with Fox News in July, he claimed Republicans are focused on "bringing this country back. Rebuilding it, restoring it, and renewing it, and that means and law and order and justice." Boebert, on the other hand, refused to comply with the cease-and-desist order issued when she continued to operate her restaurant at the height of the pandemic.
McCarthy told Fox News last month: "Let me be very clear: There is no place for QAnon in the Republican Party. I do not support it."
That has not stopped him from backing Boebert as well as Georgia congressional nominee Marjorie Taylor Greene, who has also previously embraced the QAnon conspiracy theory and said, "Q is a patriot."
Last month, McCarthy announced that the National Republican Congressional Committee was adding Boebert to its "Young Guns" list of priority candidates.
She faces Democratic nominee Diane Mitsch Bush in November. A poll conducted last month found the race virtually tied.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.
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