Who could have predicted that Gordon Klingenschmitt wouldn’t exactly live up to his promise, following his election to the Colorado State House last year, that he would “tone down the rhetoric” after building a career out of making off-the-wall statements as a Religious Right activist.
Klingenschmitt has set off a firestorm in Colorado after he claimed that a brutal attack on a pregnant woman in the state, in which a baby died after being cut from the woman’s womb, was the result of God’s “curse” on America for legalizing abortion.
His colleagues in the state legislature, including the lawmaker who used to represent Klingenschmitt’s district, called out the GOP lawmaker for his remark:
“His statement was outrageous,” said Rep. Beth McCann of Denver. “Rep. Klingenschmidt is politicizing a terrible human tragedy. The statement was incredibly insensitive to a family that is been through an unimaginable horrific experience.”
Rep. Polly Lawrence, R-Douglas County, said Thursday she was “appalled” at her colleague’s remarks.
“Gordon does not speak for his caucus,” said Lawrence, the House assistant minority leader.
[Former State Rep. Mark] Waller said he is concerned that Wilkins, who has been released from the hospital, will read Klingenschmitt’s comments.
“It’s just plain wrong to say something like that, this poor woman,” he said. “This was a horrible tragedy.”
Republicans were quick to distance themselves from a member of their own caucus:
“I think this statement is reprehensible and disrespectful,” House Speaker Dickey Lee Hullinghorst, a Democrat, said in a statement . “Given the sensitive nature of the events, as well as respect for the victim and her family, I’m not going to comment any further.”
Steve House, the new chairman of the Colorado GOP, was less critical in his statement.
“Gordon has the right to exercise his First Amendment protection of free speech,” House said in a written statement. “Gordon does not speak on behalf of the Colorado Republican Party and to suggest otherwise would be inaccurate and dishonest.”
Others at the state Capitol were left to wonder how Klingenschmitt thought he could make the remarks without public backlash.
“It’s so disrespectful to the victims,” said one political operative in the state capitol. “Does [Klingenschmitt] not think that the Internet works in the building?”