WASHINGTON ― Colorado Republican Ken Buck announced Wednesday that he would not run for reelection partly because can’t stand his party’s lies about 2020.
In recent weeks, Buck has broken from Republicans on the impeachment inquiry against President Joe Biden and whether the Justice Department has been “weaponized” against Donald Trump.
On Wednesday, Buck said he was disappointed Republicans have failed to tackle “major issues” like reforming federal social insurance programs. But that wasn’t all.
“I’m also disappointed that the Republican Party continues to, you know, rely on this lie that the 2020 election was stolen,” Buck said in an interview on MSNBC, “and rely on the Jan. 6 narrative and the political prisoners from Jan. 6 and other things.”
Buck said that if Republicans want to tackle difficult problems, then “we’ve got to deal with some very unpleasant truths, or lies, and make sure we project to the public what the truth is.”
As if to make Buck’s point, the House is expected to vote Wednesday on a Republican resolution trivializing the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.
Buck is a former federal prosecutor who came to national attention as a far-right Tea Party candidate for the U.S. Senate in 2010. He joined the House from his deep-red Colorado district in 2015 and became a member of the far-right House Freedom Caucus. Recently, however, he’s been punching from the left against his Republican colleagues in the House on several key issues, including impeaching Biden.
“I have been a prosecutor for 25 years. I want to see evidence that ties Joe Biden to Hunter Biden’s activities. I haven’t seen that evidence yet,” Buck told HuffPost in September. “If that evidence was developed, would I be in favor of impeachment? Yes, but it hasn’t been developed yet.”
Buck told HuffPost last week that his district office was being evicted from its rental in Colorado by his landlord as retaliation for his refusal to support Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) for speaker.
But Buck’s differences from his colleagues aren’t limited to tactics or temperament. He opposed free trade legislation in 2015 and supported stricter antitrust enforcement last year, contrary to Republicans’ usual habit of supporting big business. He was one of the minority of House Republicans who voted to certify the 2020 election.
Still, Buck signed on to a Supreme Court brief seeking to undo Donald Trump’s loss in several key states, but he’s drawn a distinction between legal and political efforts to reverse the election outcome.
“I think going to the courts is one thing,” Buck said Wednesday. “Trying to move the mob from the mall up to the House floor and, you know, interrupting the congressional proceeding, a whole different issue.”
Buck said in September he was interested in becoming a cable news contributor but didn’t say Wednesday what his next move would be.
“I’m going to be leaving Congress,” he said. “I’m not going to be leaving the party, and I’m not going to be leaving my role in trying to talk truth to the public.”