Lauren Boebert, a freshman U.S. House member from Colorado, is best known for having expressed support for the deranged QAnon conspiracy theory — a libel that did much to inspire the siege of the U.S. Capitol. On Wednesday, she tweeted: “Today is 1776.” That tweet was reckless and incendiary: The QAnon nutjobs who stormed the Capitol on Wednesday were using “1776” as a rallying cry in the days leading up to the attack. They took that rallying cry seriously and literally.
But Boebert is facing calls for expulsion for a different tweet. A January 11 headline at Salon alleges that Boebert “live-tweeted Nancy Pelosi’s location to rioters.”
On January 6, Boebert tweeted her own location at 2:17 p.m.: “We were locked in the House Chambers.”
Then she tweeted at 2:18 p.m. that Pelosi was no longer in the House chamber: “The Speaker has been removed from the chambers.”
In other words, Boebert did not tweet where Pelosi was located; she tweeted where Pelosi was not located.
I’m not sure if the situation was different in the House than the Senate — where I was located at the time — but around the same time, several people tweeted that Mike Pence had left the Senate floor.
NPR tweeted that Pence had left the Senate chamber. A New York Times reporter tweeted Pence had left the Senate chamber. I tweeted that Pence had left the Senate. When I tweeted that, I did not know the Capitol building had been breached. An announcement over a loudspeaker that there was a “security threat inside the building” occurred a few minutes later.
It was apparent to anyone watching the C-SPAN livestream that Senator Chuck Grassley had taken Pence’s post as the presiding officer, and a C-SPAN anchor later explicitly reported that Pence had left the Senate.
I am certain that neither NPR, the New York Times, C-SPAN, nor I believed we were endangering Mike Pence’s life by tweeting he was no longer in the Senate.
Now, maybe the situation was somehow different in the House from the Senate in that moment. I don’t know whether Boebert knew the building had been breached when she posted those tweets about her own location and the fact that Pelosi was no longer there. But the truth matters, including the facts about what was being reported about Pence and the Senate at around the same time.