Top Michigan Republican stands by Capitol 'hoax' comments

Top Michigan Republican stands by Capitol 'hoax' comments


LANSING, Mich. (AP) — One of Michigan's highest-ranking Republicans on Wednesday stood by his false claims that it is a “hoax” to blame supporters of then-President Donald Trump for the deadly Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.

In a private conversation with Democratic Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist II on the Senate rostrum that was captured by the chamber’s video feed, Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey said: “I frankly don't take back any of the points I was trying to make” but rather “some of the words I chose.” He said the siege was “very real, but the assignment of cause — that was planned weeks and months in advance.”

Shirkey apologized Tuesday after the release of an hourlong video of a Feb. 3 meeting in which he told Republicans that the siege at the Capitol “wasn't Trump people. That's been a hoax from day one. That was all prearranged.” He questioned why there was not more security and suggested the “staged” event was “done from high,” claiming then-U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell “was part of it. ...They wanted to have a mess.”

The statement did not specify the remarks for which he was apologizing, and he did not speak to reporters following session on Wednesday.

The controversy was the latest involving Shirkey and the GOP more broadly in a battleground state that Joe Biden won by 153,000 votes but where Trump continues to hold grip. Shirkey has come under fire for meeting with paramilitary group leaders last year and attending a rally with extremists, weeks after armed men entered the Statehouse to protest Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's coronavirus restrictions. Some were later charged i n a plot to kidnap the governor.

The newly elected co-chair of the Michigan Republican Party, Meshawn Maddock — a “stop the steal” figure — tried to intervene when...

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