Lauren Boebert Defends Throwing Out Pin Honoring School Shooting Victim

Representative Lauren Boebert has apologized for "the appearance" of throwing out a memorial pin commemorating the lives of one of the Uvalde school shooting victims, saying that she was worried about her own safety.

A video went viral last week showing the Colorado congresswoman tossing out a pin of green Converse sneakers made in remembrance of 10-year-old Maite Rodriguez, one of the 19 child victims killed in May 2022 at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. It was the deadliest school shooting since Sandy Hook Elementary a decade prior.

The pins were made by gun control advocate Gina Gennari and handed out in the U.S. Capitol by members of March For Our Lives, a national organization working to curb gun violence across America, and Lives Robbed, an organization formed by the families of the children killed at Robb Elementary.

"The only worthwhile apologies are prompt, sincere and factually correct," Gennari told Newsweek via email on Monday. "My energy remains focused on raising enough money to bring 'Maite's Shoes' to every state legislature in the U.S. and continuing the discussion around preventing gun violence."

Lauren Boebert Defends Throwing Out Pin
Representative Lauren Boebert, a Colorado Republican, is seen on March 11, 2021, in Washington, D.C. Boebert posted a video on Monday apologizing for throwing away a memorial pin in remembrance of a school shooting victim. Drew Angerer/Getty

"Actions speak louder than words," a spokesperson for March For Our Lives told Newsweek. "Whether it's throwing out a memorial pin representing a child killed by gun violence or introducing legislation that would repeal every gun safety measure enacted between 2021 and 2022, time and again Lauren Boebert has shown us that she'd rather protect the gun lobby than our children."

Newsweek has reached out to Lives Robbed via email for additional comment.

"Last week, there was a video of me throwing an item away that I had received randomly from somebody in the hallway," Boebert said in a video posted Monday by the Twitter account @PatriotTakes. "I was walking, had Air Pods in, and tried to tell the man that I was occupied and he continued.

"And as he was handing me what turned out to be a memorial pin, I recognized him as a man who came at me very aggressively just a few weeks prior during a press conference. He was so aggressive that he was apprehended by another member and detained by Capitol Police officers."

She said: "I wanted to make it very clear that I did not want to receive anything that this man had to give me, nor did I know what he was handing me."

"If anyone thinks that I was disrespecting a child who tragically lost their lives at the hands of an evil, evil person, I want to apologize for the appearance of that," she added. "But that's not at all what it was. I simply didn't want to receive anything from this aggressive man who was harassing me and my office."

A spokesperson for Boebert told Newsweek that the man she was referencing was Brett Cross, whose son Uziyah was among the 19 children killed at Robb Elementary.

In May of this year, Cross was kicked out of the Texas State Capitol for reportedly being too loud after protesting a gun reform proposal being left off the state legislature's agenda, according to The Independent.

In June, Cross was arrested and charged with assaulting and injuring his wife, according to San Antonio Express-News. He was scheduled to appear for an arraignment on July 12 in a Uvalde district court.

Newsweek has reached out to Cross via social media, and to Medina County court officials via email for comment.

Cross tweeted out a video on Thursday in response to Boebert's throwing away of the pin, referring to the congresswoman with expletives while asking people not to vote for such individuals.

In that video, Cross said that Boebert "don't give a rat's a**" and called her actions "beyond infuriating."

But the video posted last week on Twitter appeared to show a different male individual speaking to Boebert and attempting to give her the pin of Maite Rodriguez's Converse sneakers.

When asked, a spokesperson for Boebert said they had no further comment to make on the issue.

"I was very vocal when the shooting took place in Uvalde, and that was horrific all the way around," Boebert added in her video apology. "I do what I do because I want to protect children; I want to make sure they are safe and secure."

Boebert, an advocate for gun rights, attributed the Uvalde shooting to a "deranged man" who conducted a "vile act." The Colorado representative added that she initially suggested spending unspent COVID-19 dollars on more school security.

Texas Representative Joaquin Castro wore the pin last week when debating a House resolution. When asked about Boebert's actions and subsequent apology, a spokesperson for Castro's office told Newsweek that Castro "was honored to wear the pin on the House floor in memory of Maite and all those who died at Robb Elementary."

Update 7/25/23, 9:49 a.m. ET: This article was updated with comment from Representative Joaquin Castro and March For Our Lives.

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