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Leonard draws backlash after social media post

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By Sal Christ

A recent Facebook post from state Rep. Tim Leonard, R-Evergreen, in which he compares participants in the Women’s March to “Hitler’s Brownshirts,” the Nazi Party’s original paramilitary, is drawing outrage from Democratic House leadership while eliciting little more than silence from GOP leadership at both county and state levels.

On July 10, Leonard posted criticism of the Women’s March organization and its participants over a flubbed press release the organization sent out criticizing President Donald Trump’s recent nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court. The original press release, which was released July 9, condemned Trump’s selection, but didn’t have the nominee’s name filled in on first reference and later misspelled Kavanaugh’s surname.

While the erroneous press release drew widespread criticism from conservatives across the country, including U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Leonard’s disapproval extended beyond that.

In the July 10 post, Leonard wrote:

“I usually like to avoid national politics, but the insanity and incoherency of the ‘Women’s March’ radicals has to be pitied. They are so angry, they cannot even think straight. They could care less who the Supreme Court nominee is, they resist everything everywhere all the time from this President.

“Who can even take them seriously? They have nothing to offer to any logical discussion of ideas. They are in the political arena just to cause chaos — like Hitler’s Brownshirts.”
Online response to the post was mixed with many commenters cheering in his support while others castigated Leonard for his remarks and expressed disbelief over what they perceived as a misogynistic and extreme viewpoint.

Leonard isn’t the first person or politician to use volatile rhetoric to attack those whose political stances he disagrees with, joining the likes of InfoWars website owner Alex Jones and Minnesota Republican state Rep. Mary Franson. Conversely, many liberals and left-leaning organizations have referred to the president and his supporters as Nazis, as well as used Nazi imagery to describe immigration policies introduced by the Trump administration, including Colorado’s House Majority Project, a campaign fundfor the state’s Democratic Party.

Duran, other Dems express disgust over remarks

At the Statehouse, Speaker of the House Crisanta Duran, D-Denver, denounced Leonard’s comments, calling them disgraceful.

“The Women’s Marches across the country were powerful and peaceful statements that will fight back against the daily attacks on our personal freedoms and liberties by a hostile administration,” she said.

“Here in Colorado, women from across the political spectrum are standing against hostile attacks on our communities. Rep. Leonard’s comments comparing tens of thousands of Colorado women who peaceably assembled to Nazis diminishes women and our voices in the political process.”

Lisa Cutter, Leonard’s Democratic opponent in the race for House District 25, expressed outrage over his comments, as well.

“I am just appalled that he would talk about half of his constituents that way,” she said. “Not only is his post wildly untrue, it’s incredibly inflammatory. … It’s blatant misogyny. Women are a huge part of the district he’s representing, and he’s dismissing them and comparing them to Fascist mercenaries.”

By contrast, GOP leadership has remained quiet on the issue. House Minority Leader Patrick Neville, R-Castle Rock, didn’t respond to requests for comment Monday, and Joe Webb, chairman of the Jefferson County Republican Committee, refused to comment on Leonard’s post.

Neither Leonard nor national representatives for the Women’s March responded to requests for comment by press time.

Contact reporter Sal Christ at sal@evergreenco.com or at 303-350-1035. Follow her on Twitter @decriture.