As Salon reported exclusively on Wednesday, Rep. Lauren Boebert, the Colorado Republican known for her fervent pro-gun positions and tireless support of Donald Trump, led a mysterious late-night family tour of the U.S. Capitol on Dec. 12, three weeks before she became a member of Congress. Although Salon's report was illustrated with photos of Boebert's family members at the Capitol on the day in question, she told the Daily Mail that the story was "false."
In that interview with the Daily Mail, Boebert continued, "Now, Salon is pushing this false story in what amounts to nothing more than clickbait. Here are the facts. The House Ethics Committee cleared me of these unfounded accusations, no reconnaissance tour occurred, and Salon continues to be a lying rag."
Salon's article did not allege or imply that Boebert led a "reconnaissance tour," and made clear that she has repeatedly denied that suggestion. Her Capitol tour on Dec. 12 was clearly a family visit, but exactly how and why it occurred — after hours and apparently with no member of Congress or official guide present, as Capitol rules clearly stipulate — remains unexplained.
In a subsequent Wednesday evening interview with Salon, Boebert admitted that she had in fact led the Dec. 12 tour, but without explaining the circumstances.
When this reporter identified himself, Boebert responded, "The rag publication!" She then said her team doesn't "talk to" this reporter, adding, "Yeah, I guess, have fun writing your stories."
Asked whether she denies the after-hours Dec. 12 Capitol tour and what exactly was false in Salon's reporting, Boebert responded, "Um, that's my son and my mom. I was walking through the Capitol, which is totally legit for a member-elect."
In fact, there does not appear to be any provision in Capitol rules for tours led by members-elect. Furthermore, tours led by actual members are only supposed to occur on weekdays between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., not on weekends or at night.
Boebert denied that the tour had violated Capitol rules, but did not explain how it was arranged or who had authorized a tour at an unusual hour under unusual circumstances. "It was totally permitted," she said. "There were no restrictions against it, nor are there now. So, I mean fake news." She then cut the call short, saying, "Sorry. See you later, you lose."
As Salon noted in the initial report, a maskless Capitol Police officer apparently accompanied Boebert's mother and teenage son to the observation deck at the top of the Capitol Dome, and appears in a photo taken by a fourth person, presumably Boebert herself.
It would seem reasonable to conclude that Boebert's extraordinary family tour must have been approved by a high-level government official, either in Congress or the Trump White House, but no evidence of that has emerged to this point.
Salon has been unable to confirm the identity of the police officer seen in Boebert's family photo, and the Capitol Police have not responded to numerous requests for clarification.