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Conservative Colorado congresswoman Lauren Boebert faced blowback for her statement of concern in response to the shooting at a gay nightclub in the state when Twitter users accused her of trafficking in the same hate that has been blamed for the attack.
Ms Boebert tweeted after a shooting overnight at Club Q in Colorado Springs that “the news out of Colorado Springs is absolutely awful. This morning the victims & their families are in my prayers.
She added, “[t]his lawless violence needs to end and end quickly”.
But her remarks fell on deaf ears; Twitter users quickly noted that Ms Boebert was deeply entrenched in the resurgence of right-wing hate against the LGBT community. The freshman congresswoman, who holds a thin lead in a reelection bid headed for a recount, has more than once tweeted approvingly about the right-wing hate account LibsOfTikTok, which shines a spotlight on private citizens and businesses that are seen as members of or allied with the gay community; teachers and drag performers who interact with children are among the owner’s favourite targets. Those targeted by the account are subjected to relentless abuse from thousands of followers; in one recent high-profile case, the Boston Children’s Hospital received bomb threats after it was maligned by the account.
The last post on Facebook from Club Q before the shooting was advertising the upcoming “drag brunch” set for today at the venue, which has since been cancelled. Such events are frequent targets of LGBT hate and the LibsofTikTok account especially.
Just a few months ago, Ms Boebert tweeted that the LibsOfTikTokAccount had “discovered the most effective way to highlight the inconsistencies of Leftist logic” after it received a suspension from the platform.
“So are you going to stop demonizing the LGBTQ community, or no?” progressive journalist John Iadarola tweeted at the congresswoman on Sunday.
“Don’t act like you’re not thrilled,” added another left-leaning journalist, Holly Anderson.
A third tweeted: “You can draw a straight line from the false & vile rhetoric about LGBTQ people spread by extremists & amplified across social media, to the nearly 300 anti-LGBTQ bills introduced this year, to (attacks)”, quoting GLAAD, one of the nation’s largest LGBT anti-hate groups.
Others were more direct.
“Eat shit you f****ng ghoul,” advised Will Menaker, host of the popular “Chapo Trap House” podcast.
“What’s impressive is that you manage to be both insidiously evil AND mediocre,” added Saeed Jones, a writer and poet.
Ms Boebert was favoured to win reelection but may end up losing her seat to a Democrat if a recount in her district erases the small margin of votes she currently leads by.
Her underperformance is a symptom of the poor showing that Trump-aligned candidates had around the country in the midterm elections as the defeats of election deniers and hard-right conservatives around the country erased the GOP’s chances of taking the Senate and nearly cost the party a House majority as well.