Steve Bannon state Colorado county El Paso county Williams Election Pride President reports social party Steve Bannon state Colorado county El Paso county Williams

Colorado’s Trumpified G.O.P. Says to Burn Pride Flags

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The Colorado Republican Party last week sent a mass email with the subject line, “God Hates Pride.” The missive denounced Pride Month as a time when “godless groomers” attack what is “decent, holy and righteous.” It included a clip of a sermon by a famously misogynist pastor named Mark Driscoll, with thumbnail text proclaiming, in a nod to the slogan of the obscenely anti-gay Westboro Baptist Church, “God Hates Flags.” The party also posted on the social media platform X, “Burn all the #pride flags this June.” These messages, which have rocked Republican politics in Colorado, are the latest demonstration of how Donald Trump’s MAGA movement has thrown state parties into turmoil.

But they’ve also set off a furious backlash from within the party, an indication that beneath a thin veneer of pro-Trump unanimity, old-school Republicans are locked in a power struggle with the fanatics, trolls and conspiracy theorists Trump has empowered.

It’s a strange dynamic: a bloc of conservatives who’ve mostly capitulated to Trump are still fighting Trumpism, as if the two things can be separated.

In Colorado, Dave Williams, who was elected party chair last year, embodies the Trumpist takeover of the Republican Party. In 2021, as ProPublica reported, Steve Bannon called on election deniers to flood Republican parties at the local level, and in Colorado as elsewhere, they listened. “There was kind of a movement in the party, I think it was propelled by Steve Bannon, to really take control,” said Chuck Broerman, a longtime Republican official in El Paso County, where Williams lives.

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