PUEBLO, Colo. — President Biden on Wednesday slammed conservative firebrand Rep. Lauren Boebert in her own district, the latest move in his effort to use Boebert and other “MAGA Republicans” as foils in a reelection campaign he hopes will shape up as a choice between him and a Republican Party he depicts as extremist.
Biden criticized Boebert (R-Colo.) as “one of the leaders of this extreme MAGA movement.” He criticized her for voting against the Inflation Reduction Act, a sprawling climate-and health law that Boebert has decried as “dangerous for America.”
And he sought to link her to a broader GOP, including former president Donald Trump and House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.), that he characterized as uninterested in helping ordinary Americans.
“The speaker, Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans here in Congress are committed to protecting outrageous tax cuts for those at the very top,” Biden said in remarks on clean energy at a plant here that makes wind tower turbines. “And they’re going to continue to oppose investing in all those programs that help people.”
Biden’s visit was aimed at creating a contrast between what he portrays as his efforts to strengthen the economy and what he paints as Republicans’ embrace of chaos and conspiracy.
The House Republican conference in the past two months has deposed a speaker, struggled to elect a new one and twice flirted with a government shutdown. Biden said in July that he would attend the groundbreaking for a solar energy factory in the district of another far-right House member, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), although the visit has not happened.
Boebert responded to Biden’s visit to her district with a statement accusing him of causing inflation rather than ameliorating it. She called on him to support her Pueblo Jobs Act, which the House passed as part of a defense-spending bill in July.
“Rather than cutting wasteful federal spending and unleashing American energy production, Joe Biden continues to pander to radical extremists, lock up more land, and spend his time focused on campaign stunts and vacations rather than doing the job he was elected to do,” Boebert said.
In a post on X on Wednesday, Boebert added that Biden “should be coming here to apologize for his all out war on fossil fuels and his Green New Deal agenda which have cost the great people of Colorado’s 3rd District dearly.”
The Biden campaign is also seeking to portray Trump and other potential Republican presidential nominees as extremists. But regardless of whom the president’s GOP opponent is, the campaign has signaled that it will hold up the House GOP, with its attention-grabbing cadre of hard-right conservatives, as part of what he is running against.
The event at CS Wind was previously scheduled for last month, but citing Biden’s need to participate in national security meetings, the White House postponed the trip after Hamas militants killed roughly 1,200 people in Israel.
CS Wind last spring launched an expansion of its Pueblo factory, which it says is the largest of its kind in the world, attributing the growth to tax incentives in the inflation reduction law. The company said the project will double the plant’s production and add 850 employees by 2026.
Biden has been promoting the law’s impact on that factory since August, when he noted that it is in the district represented by Boebert — “you know, that very quiet Republican lady?” He added, “She railed against its passage. But that’s okay, she’s welcoming it now.”
In a memo Tuesday, the White House denounced Boebert for calling for a repeal of the Inflation Reduction Act and opposing the bipartisan infrastructure law. The administration also touted a new analysis suggesting that energy investments spurred by the inflation law are mostly going to underserved communities.
Biden on Wednesday mocked Boebert for calling the Inflation Reduction Act a “massive failure” despite the jobs he said it was bringing to her district. Addressing the audience at CS Wind, he asked sarcastically, “You all know you’re part of a massive failure?” Rather, he added, “it all sounds like a massive failure in thinking by the congresswoman and her colleagues.”
Boebert is one of the most colorful, outspoken and high-profile of the far-right conservatives and Trump supporters who are gaining increasing prominence in the House GOP.
Last February, she suggested that God was using her to stand up to then-House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), who she implied was one of her “demons.” At another point she said she is “tired” of the separation of church and state, which she said stemmed from a “stinking letter” by one of the Founding Fathers.
In June, she introduced a resolution to impeach Biden, citing a “dereliction of duty” and “abuse of power” over his handling of the U.S.-Mexico border, a move opposed by many Republicans. More recently, Boebert has been engaged in damage control after being escorted out of a Denver theater in September for vaping and otherwise being disruptive.
She narrowly fended off a surprise threat to her reelection in 2022, beating Democrat Adam Frisch by 546 votes after a recount. Her district is strongly Republican, and Trump beat Biden handily there in 2020.
Boebert, who supported Trump’s false claims of widespread fraud in that election, faces a difficult reelection bid in which she is likely again to face Frisch. He has argued that her inflammatory rhetoric and behavior — such as comparing the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol to the declaration of independence in 1776 — are distractions that hurt the district.
Painting Boebert and other congressional Republicans as extremists could be especially important for Biden if he faces someone other than Trump, a uniquely polarizing and divisive figure. While Trump remains ahead of his GOP rivals by more than 40 points in most national polls, his run could still be complicated by developments in his criminal cases or a surge of interest in another contender.
Biden and the White House castigated congressional Republicans several times before his arrival in Colorado.
At an event Monday hailing his administration’s efforts to improve supply chains, Biden accused “MAGA Republicans” of proposing cuts to infrastructure such as roads and internet service. He also accused them of opposing his efforts to discourage companies from applying hidden fees to purchases.
“You know, MAGA Republicans in Congress are pushing back on our efforts to end these junk fees,” Biden said. “Folks, these refunds may not matter to the wealthy, but they matter to working folks and homes like the ones a lot of us grew up in.”
White House spokesman Andrew Bates blasted out an email saying that while Biden focuses on lowering Americans’ costs, “at the very same time, congressional Republicans keep proving that the top objective of MAGAnomics is tax giveaways for rich special interests, even if it means major price hikes on families.”
Republicans, however, say it is their party that is focused on lowering Americans’ costs and taxes while inflation has soared under Biden.
“In three years, Americans have struggled with shortages of baby formula, diapers, medications, and more,” Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said in a statement this week. “Meanwhile, prices have climbed and real wages have plummeted since January 2021. Joe Biden can make empty election year promises all he wants, but the failure of Bidenomics speaks for itself.”