Democrat-led Colorado House refuses to allow Hamas victims’ families on chamber floor

DENVER—The Colorado House speaker turned away Monday a delegation of Israeli visitors, including six family members of Hamas hostages and victims, citing concerns about the reaction from the Democrat-controlled chamber.

Republican state Rep. Ron Weinberg told Colorado Politics that the plan was for the group to be honored on both the House and Senate floors, but that House Speaker Julie McCluskie called him early Monday to cancel plans to receive the delegation on the House side

The Israeli dignitaries and family members were welcomed on the Senate floor for a joint ceremony attended by about half the members of the House, including Ms. McCluskie. The group also met with Gov. Jared Polis.

In a statement, the Democrat McCluskie said lawmakers should “respect the deep personal connections members in this chamber have to this ongoing tragedy,” but she was concerned about decorum.

“I did not have assurances that members on both sides of the aisle would rise to the occasion, and I had concerns that continuing to bring this issue into the chamber would have had long-term detrimental impacts on how we are able to work together for the people of Colorado,” she said.

Mr. Weinberg urged lawmakers to speak with the visitors and hear their stories after being given permission to address the Senate. He later blasted the House Democratic leadership.

“It is outrageous the Democrats do not trust their own members not to ‘embarrass’ family members of victims who have been taken hostage by Hamas terrorists,” he said on Facebook. “This is not a Republican or Democratic issue — this is about saying no to evil; this is about standing up for right and wrong; this is about human decency.”

Certainly the pro-Palestinian views of at least two House Democrats are well known.

Democratic state Rep. Elisabeth Epps was formally reprimanded last month for joining a pro-Palestinian protest in the House gallery and heckling other House members during the November special session.

Democratic state Rep. Tim Hernandez was criticized for refusing to condemn Hamas under questioning from an Israel supporter at a Colorado Palestinian Coalition rally at the state capital on Oct. 7, hours after the deadly Hamas attack on Israeli civilians.

He later apologized, saying “I condemn Hamas, and I condemn — in the strongest ways possible — all violence against civilians.”

Longtime Colorado political analyst Eric Sondermann called it a “sad, ignoble day at the Colorado Capitol.”

“Denying families of Israeli hostages the honor of recognition on the House floor. For shame,”  he said on X. “Kudos to @jaredpolis and the State Senate for the time spent with them. To Speaker [Julie] McCluskie, for shame.”

The Democrat Polis said after meeting with the families and Israel Consul General Israel Bachar that it was “time that Hamas release the hostages and let them come home.”

“The unbearable pain these families have faced is hard to imagine, but I’m grateful that they shared their stories and the stories of their loved ones with us here in Colorado,” he said in a statement.

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