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State lawmaker under fire for comparing women marchers to Hitler’s ‘brownshirts’

Author: Marianne Goodland - July 17, 2018 - Updated: August 7, 2018

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A screenshot of Rep. Tim Leonard’s Facebook page, showing his comments that called a women’s group Nazi brownshirts.

Republican state Rep. Tim Leonard of Evergreen is under fire for a Facebook post in which he compared women marchers to Hitler’s brownshirts, the Nazi militia members who began the campaigns of violence against Jews in pre-World War II Germany.

Leonard has two Facebook pages, one for his personal life and another for his political office and campaign. The Facebook page generating controversy is on the page that he uses to communicate with House constituents and supporters.

The post refers to a Washington Times article that poked fun at the Women’s March, which sent out a press release after President Donald Trump announced his pick for the latest U.S. Supreme Court vacancy. The press release said “Women’s March opposes XX,” leaving out the name of Judge Brett Kavanaugh.

The Women’s March got started with a march on Washington following Trump’s inauguration in 2017 and since then has taken on the issue of immigration, including the recent forced separation of children from their parents who came across the border illegally or who sought legal asylum.

Leonard, who represents Colorado’s 25th House District, reacted to the Times article and to the Women’s March in his Facebook post, stating:

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.

Democrat Lisa Cutter is running against Leonard for the November general election and was an organizer for the Women’s March in Denver. In a statement Tuesday, she said Leonard’s remarks are inexcusable:

Leonard is a public servant representing the many women in his district who proudly marched with their neighbors, their husbands, their daughters and their mothers. It is shocking and unbelievable that he not only disregards but also deeply insults women advocating for themselves and their daughters. I believe that standing up for your beliefs through peaceful demonstration is the highest form of democracy.

Many of the comments in reaction to the post chided Leonard for his “disregard” for half of his constituents.  One commenter said: “it’s always good to know what those who are supposed to be representatives of the people think of the people. Refreshing, really. It’s good to know that you obviously have zero concern for the matters that women have to face. Not only that but you believe they should be silenced.” 

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A 2017 photo from Leonard’s personal Facebook page, showing him with Judge Roy Moore of Alabama.

Leonard’s personal Facebook page also includes a photo taken last year with Judge Roy Moore of Alabama, who lost a race for the U.S. Senate in April amidst allegations he sexually harassed young women, including underage teenagers.

This isn’t Leonard’s first brush with controversy; in 2016, he spent two weeks in the Jefferson County jail just before Christmas for contempt of court over violations of a long-standing judicial order that allows his ex-wife to make educational decisions for their minor children.

Leonard did not respond to a request for comment.

Marianne Goodland

Marianne Goodland

Marianne Goodland is the chief legislative reporter for Colorado Politics. She's covered the Colorado General Assembly for 20 years, starting off in 1998 with the Silver & Gold Record, the editorially-independent newspaper at CU that was shuttered in 2009. She also writes for six rural newspapers in northeastern Colorado. Marianne specializes in rural issues, agriculture, water and, during election season, campaign finance. In her free time (ha!) she lives in Lakewood with her husband, Jeff; a cantankerous Shih-Tzu named Sophie; and Gunther the cat. She is also an award-winning professional harpist.