Feb 10, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Michigan state senator caught doubling down on comments that Capitol riot was a "hoax"

Demonstrators gather outside the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021

Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

After initially apologizing for saying that the Capitol attack was a "hoax," Michigan State Sen. Mike Shirkey was caught on a hot mic saying he stood by those comments, the Detroit Free Press reported.

Why it matters: Prominent Congressional Republicans such as Reps. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), and other Trump allies have baselessly floated the idea that Capitol rioters were members of Antifa or others posing as Trump supporters.

  • Footage from Jan. 6 showed many rioters carried Trump flags, wore branded Trump clothing and chanted in support of Trump.

What they're saying: "I frankly don’t take back any of the points I was trying to make," Shirkey said, while talking to another Michigan lawmakers at a state legislative session.

  • “That wasn’t Trump people,” Shirkey said at the private meeting on Feb. 3 in a diner first by The Detroit Metro Times. “That’s been a hoax from day one. That was all pre-arranged."
  • "Why wasn't there more security? It was ridiculous, it was all staged,"

Background: A day earlier, Shirkey released an apology for calling the U.S. Capitol riots a hoax.

  • “I said some things in a videoed conversation that are not fitting for the role I am privileged to serve," Shirkey said in a press release.
  • "I own that.  I have many flaws. Being passionate coupled with an occasional lapse in restraint of tongue are at least two of them. I regret the words I chose, and I apologize for my insensitive comments.”

Of note: Separately, Shirkey was censured by the Hillsdale Republican Party, the Metro Times reported, for condemning armed "peaceful protesters" who stormed the Michigan state capitol and for "utter surrender" to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's pandemic measures.

Flashback: Trump summoned Shirkey and other Republican state lawmakers to Washington D.C. as part of the president's attempt to overturn the election results.

  • Shirley and the delegation of Michigan lawmakers released a joint statement after the visit stating they "had not yet been aware of any information that would change the outcome of the election in Michigan."
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