More Than A Dozen GOP State Lawmakers Attended Rally That Gave Way To Riots
Virginia Republican gubernatorial candidate and State Sen. Amanda Chase is facing calls to resign after attending the pro-Trump rally in Washington D.C. on Wednesday. Chase addressed a crowd at the event but said she departed "just in time" before a mob began to riot and force their way into the U.S. Capitol.
Chase is one of more than a dozen state lawmakers from around the country who were in the nation's capital Wednesday, including a newly elected West Virginia state Del. Derrick Evans, a Republican who is now facing charges after a video he live-streamed showed him entering the Capitol building.
Republican lawmakers from at least eight other states — Michigan, Missouri, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, Nevada, Alaska, Arizona, and Illinois were present ahead of the riot or said they departed as the mob began to storm. Two outgoing state representatives — Rep. Anthony Kern of Arizona and Rep. Vernon Jones of Georgia — were in attendance. Another Virginia lawmaker, Del. Dave LaRock was also at the rally.
In the days following the riot, Sen. Chase referred to the insurrectionists who stormed the Capitol as "patriots" and later falsely claimed they were plants for Antifa.
In a statement, Virginia's Democratic Senate caucus wrote that Chase "unequivocally committed insurrection."
"She galvanized domestic terrorists who violated the United States Capitol on Wednesday afternoon through riots, destruction, and desecration, joining them on their march to Capitol Hill," the statement said, though it did not call for Chase to be expelled from the body — a step endorsed by some Virginia Republicans, including U.S. Rep. Barbara Comstock and former Virginia Del. David Ramadan.
Chase did not respond to several requests for comment.
The acting U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, Michael Sherwin, told reporters on Thursday that rioters could face charges of rioting, insurrection and seditious conspiracy.
Two of Amanda Chase's Facebook posts that inaccurately blamed anti-fascists for the violence on Wednesday were marked by the platform as false information. In a post in her personal account, Chase claimed on Friday that she had been locked out of posting to the over 135,000 followers on her official Facebook page for 60 days. Facebook did not respond to a request for comment.
The Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, a fundraising and organizing group for state Democrats, called for lawmakers who attended to resign or be expelled. DLCC president Jessica Post said in a statement that Republicans had "cheered on the rioters."
Stami Williams, a spokesperson for the Republican State Leadership Committee, a fundraising and organizing group for Republicans, said anyone who participated in illegal activity and breached the Capitol should be prosecuted.
"The RSLC strongly condemns acts of violence, illegal entry, and destruction, including those for which West Virginia Delegate Derrick Evans has been charged," Williams said in a statement.
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