Days after Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) drew a firestorm for posting a holiday photo of his family holding an array of guns, Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) did the same — with each of her even younger children holding a long gun as they posed with their mother around a Christmas tree.
“The Boeberts have your six, @RepThomasMassie! (No spare ammo for you, though)," she tweeted Tuesday night.
The tweet was a tribute to Massie’s original photo, which included his family posing with guns around their own Christmas tree, with a cheerful greeting — “Merry Christmas!” — and a wish for Santa to “please bring ammo.”
But Boebert and Massie are being slammed for being, at best, insensitive for posting such pictures in the wake of the Nov. 30 shooting at Oxford High School in Michigan, where four students were killed and seven people injured, and about a week before the ninth anniversary of the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., where 20 children and six adults were killed.
Fred Guttenberg, whose daughter, Jaime, was killed in the 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., criticized Boebert as an irresponsible, gun-owning parent who was “likely raising a future school shooter or domestic terrorist.”
“She may think her photo is a funny reply to Massie, it is not. While she was taking the time to post, a REAL HERO was buried because of gun violence yesterday,” Guttenberg tweeted Wednesday, attaching a photo of 16-year-old Tate Myre, a victim of the recent school shooting in Michigan.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) mocked Boebert’s photo for misappropriating the meaning of the Christmas holiday, which has long been a point of contention in the GOP culture wars.
“Tell me again where Christ said ‘use the commemoration of my birth to flex violent weapons for personal political gain’? lol @ all the years Republicans spent on cultural hysteria of society ‘erasing Christmas and it’s meaning’ when they’re doing that fine all on their own,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted early Wednesday morning.
“When you pose in front of a Christmas Tree and can name all those guns but can’t name the gifts of the Wise Men,” she added, along with three woozy-face emoji.
Guttenberg told The Washington Post on Sunday that Massie’s photo was especially outrageous after the Michigan school shooting, in which 15-year-old Ethan Crumbley is accused of opening fire on his classmates with a gun his parents bought him as a Christmas gift. In a rare move, prosecutors charged Crumbley’s parents with involuntary manslaughter.
“When you see a representative in Congress posting a photo like this, he is telling those who may be in possession of weapons that it is cool, that it is okay, and people end up killed because of that,” Guttenberg said then.
“Aren’t we in the season of peace and goodwill?” Rep. Katherine M. Clark (D-Mass.) had written on Twitter in response to Massie’s photo. “What a repulsive, violent message especially in a week when we lost 4 students to gun violence in Michigan. Instead of wishing for ammo, how about working for gun safety so all our kids can be home for the holidays?”
Boebert’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday.
This is not the first time conservatives have used Christmas as an opportunity to flaunt their love of guns — or the first time such holiday greetings have ignited controversy. Earlier this week, Colorado’s El Paso County Sheriff’s Office apologized after posting a photo of “Santa Claus” applying for a concealed handgun permit. In 2011, a gun club in Scottsdale, Ariz., sparked outrage for offering Christmas photo shoots in which children could pose with Santa and their choice of firearm.
In 2015, then-Nevada Assemblywoman Michele Fiore posted a copy of her Christmas card, which depicted her family dressed in coordinating red shirts and jeans and nearly everyone holding a different firearm.
“It’s up to Americans to protect America. We’re just your ordinary American family,” Fiore captioned the card on social media then. She is now running for Nevada governor.
Despite Fiore’s 2015 card, Graham Allen, a pro-Trump Republican who is challenging Rep. Tom Rice (R-S.C.) for his congressional seat, on Wednesday seemed to try to take credit for the trend.
“Since posing with your family holding guns is trending in Congress right now.....never forget who made Leftists ALL OVER THE WORLD go ballistic back in 2019 with this photo,” Allen tweeted, with a screenshot of a picture of him and his three young children holding guns in a field.
Boebert is currently embroiled in other controversies, including facing calls to be disciplined after video surfaced of the Colorado Republican suggesting at an event in her district over the Thanksgiving break that Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) was a suicide bomber.
Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) introduced a resolution Wednesday to condemn Boebert’s Islamophobic language and to strip her of her committee assignments.
“For a Member of Congress to repeatedly use hateful, anti-Muslim rhetoric and Islamophobic tropes towards a Muslim colleague is dangerous,” Pressley said in a statement. “It has no place in our society and it diminishes the honor of the institution we serve in.”
Nearly a dozen House liberals — including Democratic Reps. Ocasio-Cortez, Jamaal Bowman (N.Y.), Cori Bush (Mo.), Judy Chu (Calif.), Jesús “Chuy” García (Ill.), Jimmy Gomez (Calif.), Pramila Jayapal (Wash.), Barbara Lee (Calif.) and Rashida Tlaib (Mich.) — have co-sponsored the resolution.
Paulina Villegas, Marianna Sotomayor and Jacqueline Alemany contributed to this report.