GOP leaders silent on Boebert and Greene outbursts during State of the Union


'We can maybe all agree that Lauren Boebert is classless,' a former GOP House member tweeted Wednesday.

On Tuesday night, Reps. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) and Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) repeatedly interrupted President Joe Biden with heckles during his State of the Union address. Republican leaders are not interested in holding the two accountable for their inappropriate behavior.

The two Republican House members interrupted Biden multiple times as he spoke about the nation's challenges at home and abroad.

As the president talked about immigration reform and border security, Boebert and Greene began chanting "Build the Wall," a reference to former President Donald Trump's promise of a massive wall along the nation's southern border.

When Biden spoke about helping military veterans who were exposed to toxic burn pits and noted that his son, Beau Biden, died from brain cancer after exposure in Iraq and Kosovo — Boebert screamed: "You put them there! Thirteen of them," an apparent reference to 13 service members killed in a 2021 bomb attack in Afghanistan.

Rather than apologize for her behavior, Boebert tweeted that she couldn't help herself: "When Biden said flag-draped coffins I couldn't stay silent. I told him directly he did it. He put 13 in there. Our heroic servicemen and women deserve so much better."

Some Democratic lawmakers slammed the heckling — and the lack of accountability in the House Republican caucus.

"The president was talking about his dead soldier son. You and @RepMTG were a national disgrace tonight," Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) tweeted. "But worse — because you are irrelevant — [House Minority Leader] Kevin McCarthy owns all of this. He won't condemn you because he is a colossal coward."

"We've known for a very long time that Lauren Boebert doesn't know what she's doing and is not interested in legislating or even knowing the issues and knowing the facts, but it becomes increasingly clear the level of her depravity, which is deep,"  Colorado Rep. Jason Crow told reporters, adding that "she took it upon herself to show politics and try to interrupt the president's speech, which was entirely inappropriate — certainly a stain on her."

"Her disruption was inappropriate, especially given the substance of the comments that the president was making at the time, which is to continue this way, which is to protect service members and our veterans," Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York said of Boebert.

"Dear @laurenboebert: ISIS killed the 13 heroic U.S. servicemembers in 2021 in Afghanistan. Between 2017 and 2020, there were 44 heroic U.S. service members killed in Afghanistan," wrote Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA). "Remember who our enemies are. At the end of the day, we are all Americans."

One GOP senator and a former House Republican also spoke out against their colleagues' heckling.

"It's something that I think that there's a place," Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN) said in response to Boebert and Greene's behavior. "That's not the place to do that."

"I watched the #SOTU last night. There were issues I strongly agreed with. There were other issues I strongly disagree with. That's called independent thinking," wrote former Rep. Denver Riggleman (R-VA). "But we can maybe all agree that Lauren Boebert is classless. An embarrassment to the House."

McCarthy, for his part, tweeted out a variety of criticisms of Biden and his speech on Tuesday evening but said nothing about the outbursts from members of his caucus.

After the address, he even echoed Boebert's focus on the 13 soldiers killed in Afghanistan in a tweet that was retweeted by House Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik. Neither she nor House Republican Whip Steve Scalise expressed any objection to the heckling either.

Spokespeople for McCarthy, Scalise, and Stefanik did not immediately respond to inquiries for this story.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) gave Boebert a shoutout after the speech, tweeting out a photo of her wearing a shawl emblazoned with a pro-fossil fuel slogan. "My friend ⁦@laurenboebert⁩ at #SOTU," Cruz wrote. "Drill Baby Drill!"

Greene and Boebert are both QAnon conspiracy theorists first elected in 2020. Since coming to Congress, both have come under fire for their extremist rhetoric and antisemitic comments.

Greene was stripped of her committee assignments for the "conduct she has exhibited" in making bigoted comments. The GOP leadership has defended Greene and promised to reverse the punishment if they win back the majority in the midterm elections. Republican leaders also stood by her as she used procedural maneuvers to waste hours of her colleagues' time with dilatory motions to adjourn and send everyone home in the middle of the workday.

Republican leaders also refused to take action after Boebert smeared a Muslim colleague as a member of the "Jihad squad."

This is not the first time House Republicans have demonstrated an inability to respect the rules and listen to Democrats who have the floor.

In 2009, Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) incorrectly yelled "You lie!" as President Barack Obama told a joint session of Congress that his healthcare plan would not cover people in the United States illegally. He later apologized, was admonished in a formal resolution of disapproval, and fundraised millions of dollars off the stunt.

One year later, then-Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-TX) had to apologize for shouting "it's a baby killer" during a Democratic colleague's speech in support of Obama's healthcare legislation.

While the GOP leaders saw no need to admonish Greene or Boebert for their behavior Tuesday, both were quick to scold House Speaker Nancy Pelosi two years ago for tearing up a copy of then-President Donald Trump's final State of the Union speech after its completion.

"How petty of Pelosi," McCarthy complained at the time.

Scalise told Fox Business that "it was one of the most disgraceful things I've seen."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.