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Top Michigan Republican stands by ‘hoax’ comments

Top Michigan Republican stands by 'hoax' comments

Top Michigan Republican stands by ‘hoax’ comments



One of Michigan’s top Republicans stands by his false claims that it is a “hoax” to blame supporters of then-President Donald Trump for the Jan. 6 Capitol riot (Feb. 10)

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.”

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.” The statement did not specify the remarks for which he was apologizing, and he did not speak to reporters following the 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 in a plot to kidnap the governor.

Asked if Shirkey should step down, the governor told The Associated Press she is focused on the pandemic.

“I do not have the time or energy to indulge anyone in terms of conspiracy theories or even threats of violence against me personally,” she said. “I’m going to stay focused on my job.”

Gilchrist said: “These conspiracy theories have been dangerous and deadly for our state and for our country. And the fact that the majority leader is really sticking to those and the fact that he wanted to share those with me unprompted I find quite disturbing.”

Trump’s second impeachment trial is underway. Democrats say the former president was responsible for inciting his mob of backers who broke into the Capitol and interrupted the presidential electoral count. Five people died, including a police officer.

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