Republican Ken Buck from Colorado plans to challenge the Republican Party’s trends under Trump as he leaves the House of Representatives
WASHINGTON (AP) — Rep. Ken Buck has had enough.
when The Colorado Republican announced last week Because he will not seek re-election, he began with the kind of criticism of Democratic politics that is typical of hardline conservatives. But then Pack directed his ire at his fellow Republicans, spending most of the three-minute ad video accusing them of being “obsessively focused on revenge and retaliation for contrived past injustices.”
Pack’s scorched-earth approach surprised few on Capitol Hill.
With his no-nonsense demeanor, independence and background as a federal prosecutor, Pack gained national notoriety when a Republican House member grew tired of Donald Trump’s lies about the 2020 presidential election he lost to Democrat Joe Biden and Trump’s allies in Congress who are making a big deal out of it. they. It’s a position few others in the GOP are taking, a notable shift that shows just how deeply Trump’s lies on the fringes regarding this race have settled into the Republican mainstream.
Pack appears regularly on networks like CNN, and with no plans to leave Congress before the end of his term, he will likely be a prominent figure in Republican eyes during the final months of his term. His political heresy extends to… Biden’s impeachment investigationThis is what Buck described as baseless.
“Our nation is on a collision course with reality, and an unwavering commitment to the truth — even uncomfortable truths — is the only way forward,” Pak said in the video.
However, under political pressure in Colorado, Buck decided there was no way forward for him in Congress.
Trump celebrated Pack’s impending departure, saying on social media that the congressman “knew for a long time that he could never win against MAGA, so now he’s, like some people past and present, auditioning” for a network TV job. “MAGA” is an acronym for Trump’s 2016 campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again.”
Pack is not the first GOP lawmaker to turn away from Capitol Hill out of frustration in recent years. But unlike other House Republicans who alienate their colleagues before leaving office, such as former Reps. Liz Cheney of Wyoming or Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, Pack hails from the far-right House Freedom Caucus, which puts him at the center of the conservative trend. a movement.
Pack leaves the Capitol complex almost every week to attend party meetings, where lawmakers strategize on how to disrupt business as usual in Washington. He has proposed drastic budget cuts, tough sanctions against TikTok and cuts to educational materials that teach about slavery, which was a key component of the nation’s founding.
Buck was too Among the eight Republicans Who voted for Remove Rep. Kevin McCarthy, Republican of California. As speaker, they accused him of failing to fulfill his promise to reduce spending.
“The critical issue for me is to bend the spending curve, through institutional changes,” Pak told The Associated Press in September. “No one was willing to change this place.”
While Pack, in his five terms in the House of Representatives, worked to push policy forcefully to the right, he at the same time resisted what he called “the populist flavor in the party” that rose with Trump.
“Ken is a constitutionalist who tries to make good decisions based on principle,” said Texas Rep. Chip Roy, a fellow caucus member. “I think he’s an important voice, and I’ll definitely miss him.”
Pack has been in a public feud with Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Georgia, a high-profile Trump ally who describes Pack as a “CNN wannabe.” Pack criticized how Greene and other Republicans have become public advocates for people charged in the January 6, 2021, Capitol riot.
“When I was teaching at the law school, I learned and taught some constitutional principles,” Buck told a Denver radio show, referring to his time at the University of Denver. “When Marjorie Taylor Greene was teaching CrossFit, I learned a completely different set of values, because my idea of what this country should be is based on the Constitution.” Greene was previously co-owner of a CrossFit gym in Georgia.
Buck’s experience in constitutional law predates his time teaching at the law school. After earning his bachelor’s degree at Princeton and his law degree from the University of Wyoming, Buck worked for then-Wyoming Rep. Dick Cheney, who was the top Republican on the Reagan administration’s investigation into the Iran-Contra affair. Ultimately, Cheney, who is Liz Cheney’s father, issued a minority report that said President Ronald Reagan had broad latitude in conducting foreign policy and called the president’s actions “errors in judgment, and nothing more.”
Pak called Iran-Contra a “constitutional crisis,” impressing upon him the importance of Congress not overstepping its authority. He also said that a different approach to politics governed Washington in those days: Democratic and Republican legislators were true friends and built the trust that led to bipartisan accomplishments.
Buck later returned West and pursued a career in law, including running the criminal division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Colorado. He left the office after receiving a reprimand for statements he made about a case before defense attorneys for arms dealers that undermined the prosecution. Buck was later elected district attorney in northeastern Colorado.
Pack returned to national politics as the Tea Party gained prominence and ran for the seat against Democratic Senator Michael Bennet in 2010. Pack lost, and Colorado, then a battleground state, became increasingly dominated by Democrats.
In 2014, Buck came back, winning a House district that spans the entire eastern third of the state, from farmland to the Denver suburbs.
During his five terms in Congress, Buck for a time held a spot on the powerful House Rules Committee, where he sat next to Liz Cheney. He was also the top Republican on the House Judiciary’s Antitrust Subcommittee. He gained a reputation as a tough conservative who listens to and sometimes works with Democrats.
“I’ve always found him to be incredibly candid, intellectually curious, and willing to disagree without being disagreeable,” said Rep. Joe Neguse, a Colorado Democrat who represents a district adjacent to Buck’s.
Pack formed an unlikely alliance with former Rep. David Cicilline when the Rhode Island Democrat was chairman of the Antitrust Committee. They were able to introduce a series of bills that sought to do just that Reducing the power of technology companies Such as Amazon, Apple, Meta and Google in the online market. Some of the bills have been signed into law by Biden.
Cicilline said Pack defied the will of both Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, who was the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee and is now its chairman, and McCarthy, who was the House Republican leader before becoming speaker, as Pack worked on investigations into technology companies. .
“He has proven that he does what he believes is right, even if it means standing up to his party’s leadership,” said Cicilline, who left office in May to head a nonprofit.
In recent weeks, Buck has been at the heart of moves against both McCarthy and Jordan. He provided a deciding vote to oust McCarthy. Then when hardline conservatives made Jordan the Republican nominee for Speaker of the House, Pack voted against him. Buck, alone among Republicans, said he opposes Jordan because he did not clearly mention Biden’s victory in the 2020 election.
Pak said Jordan’s opposition was unleashed A wave of harsh criticism from Republican activists It led to his being fired from a local office in Colorado.
Last week, Trump described Buck as a “weak and ineffective Super Reno,” or Republican in name only. The next day, Buck testified about Legal effort in colorado To prevent Trump from under-balloting The “Insurrection Clause” in the Constitution. It is true that Buck’s position defied easy categorization. He testified against banning Trump from the election.
Buck said the events of recent weeks have shown him that the House no longer allows reasonable disagreement.
“It’s a real honor to serve here, but it’s also a pain in the ass,” he said.
This article originally appeared on apnews.com