How rioters passed police lines and gained access to the Capitol
Republican U.S. Rep. Yvette Herrell of New Mexico has deleted social media posts highlighting the endorsement of one her most flamboyant political supporters following his arrest on charges stemming from the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riot.
Couy Griffin, the founder of Cowboys for Trump and a county commissioner in Otero County, New Mexico, was arrested by the FBI on Sunday in Washington, D.C. He is charged with knowingly entering or remaining in a restricted building or grounds without lawful authority, according to a U.S. District Court criminal complaint.
In September 2019, days before President Donald Trump held a rally in Rio Rancho, N.M., Herrell had posted on her campaign Facebook page that “Cowboys For Trump is truly one of the endorsements I am most proud of! Keep up the great work, Couy!”
The post had been removed on Monday.
Griffin spoke openly about his presence at the Capitol, including in a video posted to social media that was shot during the riot. An arrest affidavit quotes from another video in which Griffin vowed to return to the Capitol on Jan. 20, the day President-elect Joe Biden is to be inaugurated.
In the video, which was posted by the Cowboys For Trump Facebook account, Griffin said, “We could have a Second Amendment rally on those same steps that we had that rally yesterday. You know, and if we do, then it’s gonna be a sad day, because there’s gonna be blood running out of that building.”
The group’s Facebook page was removed as of Monday. A Twitter account maintained by the group has also been suspended, though Griffin’s personal account remained live.
What happened on Jan. 6: How police failures let a violent insurrection into the Capitol
During the Otero County Commissioners’ meeting on Jan. 14, Griffin repeated his vow to return to Washington and added he would be armed: “I’ve got a .357 Henry big boy rifle … in the trunk of my car, and I’ve got a .357 single action revolver … underneath the front seat on my right side. And I will embrace my Second Amendment, I will keep my right to bear arms.”
He said during the meeting he would be there on Inauguration Day “to take a stand for our country and for our freedoms.” In a television interview for “Inside Edition,” Griffin had stated, “There will never be a Biden presidency.”
Herrell made several appearances with Cowboys for Trump while campaigning for New Mexico’s 2nd congressional district seat, and she was frequently photographed with Griffin, including at the Rio Rancho rally.
On Monday, however, her YouTube account had deleted a video featuring an extended endorsement from Griffin. Griffin’s video was part of a series of endorsements by members of the congressional district on the theme of “the Yvette I know.” Others in the series remained available.
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The video featuring Griffin was posted to Herrell’s YouTube channel in May 2020, days before he grabbed attention (and a retweet from Trump) with a speech at a political rally where he stated, “The only good Democrat is a dead Democrat.” In that same speech, Griffin clarified the remark, saying he meant a political death.
Herrell, who was elected to the U.S. House in the November 2020 election, was at the Capitol when rioters broke in as Congress was debating objections to the Electoral College results affirming Biden’s victory over Trump.
Griffin was not among those who entered the Capitol, though the FBI said video evidence showed he was in a restricted area at the West Front.
Herrell condemned the violence on the day it happened, but proceeded with her objection to counting electoral votes from Arizona and Pennsylvania.
When contacted Monday by the Las Cruces Sun-News of the USA TODAY Network, Herrell’s office issued a brief statement from the congresswoman: “What Couy said and did was wrong. I do not support or excuse his comments or actions in any way.”
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