57 GOP State And Local Officials Were At The Capitol Insurrection

And a month after the riot, few of the Republican political figures have been held to account.
Illustration: Damon Dahlen/HuffPost; Photos: Getty

At least 57 state and local Republican officials attended the Jan. 6 rally in Washington that turned into a deadly insurrection, according to an updated HuffPost tally. Almost all of them are resisting calls to resign.

They traveled from 27 states for the “Stop the Steal” demonstration near the White House. A couple of officials even gave speeches, warming up the crowd for then-President Donald Trump, who took the stage and regurgitated lies about the election results before instructing the “Make America Great Again” mob to march on the U.S. Capitol.

Late last month, after identifying an initial 21 state and local GOP officials at the rally — among them a QAnon conspiracy theorist, a self-described member of a far-right militia and a man who once declared that “the only good Democrat is a dead Democrat” — HuffPost received emails from readers across the country identifying the additional 36 officials in this new tally.

Some of the reader emails were urgent — “PLEASE, PLEASE REVISE YOUR ARTICLE TO REFLECT THESE INSURGENT SEDITIONISTS PLEASE!” read one — underscoring how communities across the country are still grappling with the fallout from the siege of the U.S. Capitol. Many are hoping that these officials will somehow face consequences for their actions.

Nearly all 57 are facing calls to resign. Yet only two men, both of whom were arrested for their role in the riot — a member of the West Virginia House of Delegates and a secretary of the California Republican Assembly — have actually stepped down.

Elsewhere, a Virginia state senator was censured and stripped of committee assignments. Two other censure attempts — of a city councilwoman and a school board member in California — were voted down. In Texas, a Pizzagate-conspiracy-theory-believing field organizer was fired.

In most cases, the GOP officials have brushed aside calls to resign. “For a call to go out seeking my resignation is beyond the pale and reeks of cancel culture,” said Rob Socha, a city councilman in Hillsdale, Michigan. (Incidentally, at least four of the 57 GOP officials invoked “cancel culture” or being “canceled” while dismissing calls that they step down.)

All across the country, accountability feels hard to find, including in Washington itself, where a Senate impeachment trial against Trump for inciting the insurrection is all but assured to end in a party-line vote for acquittal. (Trump’s lawyers have also invoked “cancel culture” during the proceedings.)

Supporters of President Donald Trump gather at the west entrance of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 after busting through barriers manned by U.S. Capitol Police officers.
Supporters of President Donald Trump gather at the west entrance of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 after busting through barriers manned by U.S. Capitol Police officers.
Stephanie Keith/Reuters

In the mob on Jan. 6, according to HuffPost’s analysis, were, at least, 16 Republican members of state houses or assemblies, four state senators, a state attorney general, six county commissioners, seven city council members, two mayors, three school board members, two state GOP chairs, two prosecutors and a slew of other officials and party functionaries. The group also included an extremist sheriff from Oklahoma who discussed harming members of Congress, a town council member from Massachusetts who is closely affiliated with the violent neo-fascist gang the Proud Boys and a county commissioner from Florida who once discussed beheading liberals.

Only a few breached the Capitol property itself, with four GOP officials having since been arrested on charges including “knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds” and disorderly conduct. The rest of the officials have since largely condemned the violence that occurred that day, insisting they were nowhere near the chaos or claiming they’d already returned to their hotels or boarded buses home before the rioters started ransacking the seat of American democracy, leading to the deaths of five people.

Many have since sought to avoid responsibility for their part in it all. Of the 57 GOP officials identified as being at the rally, afterward at least 20 pushed the false conspiracy theory that “antifa,” or leftist anti-fascists, actually started the violence — a claim that’s been rendered increasingly absurd with the arrests of about 200 Trump supporters since Jan. 6.

Meanwhile, Republicans continue to cast the Capitol rioters as a lunatic fringe who do not represent the party. But the party’s complicity comes into clearer focus each day, as do the demographics of those who traveled to Washington on Jan. 6: It was an overwhelmingly white, heavily armed, petit bourgeois and middle-aged mob marching alongside dyed-in-the-wool white nationalists and other extremists, as well as dozens of cops, all with a single-minded focus on keeping their perceived political enemies — Democrats — from acquiring power.

It was a perfect representation of the GOP.

Here are the 57 state and local Republican officials who were at the Jan. 6 rally, including one official whose attendance had previously gone unreported. (This list does not include the federal lawmakers in attendance.)

The following list is not comprehensive, and HuffPost will be reporting further on officials who participated in the Jan. 6 rally. Know an elected official or party functionary who should be on this list? Email christopher.mathias@huffpost.com.

Ken and Angela Paxton

A Facebook post about the Jan. 6 insurrection from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton was labeled "False Information" by the social media company.
A Facebook post about the Jan. 6 insurrection from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton was labeled "False Information" by the social media company.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and his wife, state Sen. Angela Paxton, shared a stage with Trump at the rally that spawned a riot.

“What we have in President Trump is a fighter,” Ken Paxton told the crowd, adding: “We will not quit fighting.”

The next morning, after the carnage at the Capitol was well known, Attorney General Paxton wrote on Facebook: “Those who stormed the capitol yesterday were not Trump supporters. They have been confirmed to be Antifa. Violence is not the answer.”

Those who stormed the Capitol were absolutely not confirmed to be antifa. (Paxton still has not deleted the post, which Facebook labeled “False Information.”)

That same day, according to The Dallas Morning News, Democratic Texas state Rep. Chris Turner called for the state Legislature to “thoroughly investigate” Attorney General Paxton’s role in fomenting the riot.

“From filing a fraudulent lawsuit that fueled unhinged conspiracy theories about a free and fair election, to egging on the crowd of insurrectionists in Washington, DC, Paxton has played a major role in creating the national crisis that culminated with the first breach of our nation’s capital since the War of 1812,” Turner said in a written statement.

A spokesperson for the attorney general called Turner’s statement “utterly unhinged and absurd.”

(The FBI, meanwhile, is investigating Paxton for unrelated accusations that he committed bribery and other crimes.)

Jorge Riley

Like many of the Capitol rioters who have since been arrested, Jorge Riley — who served both as corresponding secretary of the California Republican Assembly and as president of its Sacramento chapter — appears to have confessed to his alleged crimes on social media.

“I’m here to see what my President called me to DC for,” he wrote on Facebook the morning of Jan. 6, according to federal prosecutors. “There’s 100’s of thousands of people marching on the Nation’s Capitol!!!” he wrote in another.

Thirty minutes later, Riley wrote: ‘Hey We’re storming the Capitol…. What are you doing?’”

Federal prosecutors also allege Riley gave an interview on camera upon leaving the Capitol in which he further described his actions. ’We broke windows, we went into the door, we pushed our way in, and then we just kept going further and further.” he said, adding: “We pushed our way to [Democratic House Speaker] Nancy Pelosi’s office … and then we were sitting in there yelling, ‘Fuck you, Nancy Pelosi!’”

Riley is charged with obstructing an official proceeding, illegally entering a restricted building and disorderly conduct. He has resigned from his positions in the California Republican Assembly.

Joe Mullins

“It started out real peaceful, like a typical Trump rally,” Flagler County Commissioner Joe Mullins told Florida’s Palm Coast Observer about his trip to D.C. “When [former Vice President Mike] Pence did what he did, the crowd went berserk. People started storming the Capitol. When we started hearing shots fired, we got up and left.”

What Pence “did” was refuse to heed Trump’s directive to stop Congress from counting the electoral votes that certified Democrat Joe Biden won the election. (The rioters chanted “Hang Mike Pence!” when they stormed the Capitol.)

Mullins had sponsored buses to transport Trump supporters to the Jan. 6 rally. In the days leading up to the event, he stated on a pre-recorded radio program (which the station refused to air) that “maybe there are some liberals I’d like to see their heads cut off.”

One of Mullins’ fellow commissioners, Ken Bryan, harshly criticized him upon his return to Florida, noting in a speech that Mullins had “created an intentional insurgency while serving under the oath of office,” which was a “clear violation of that oath to uphold the Constitution” and that he “should not be holding office today.”

Mullins has not resigned.

Chris West

Chris West is the sheriff of Canadian County, Oklahoma, and is affiliated with a far-right and anti-immigrant network of sheriffs across the U.S.

He says he traveled to D.C. as a private citizen and did not enter the Capitol building. “I rebuke all of that, every bit of it,” he told reporters in Oklahoma of the violence in D.C.

A short time later, however, KFOR reported that some alarming social media posts from a since-deleted Facebook account belonging to West had emerged showing the sheriff using explicitly insurrectionist rhetoric.

“If they’re okay rigging an election and foreign help to steal the white house and control of WeThePeople, then I’m okay with using whatever means necessary to preserve America and save FREEDOM & LIBERTY,” West allegedly wrote in one post.

When another Oklahoman on Facebook wrote “I want several in Congress… in prison,” West wrote back: “or worse.”

West made headlines in 2020 when he announced he was forming an armed “sheriff’s posse” to respond to Black Lives Matter demonstrations.

“The anarchists, thugs and self-identified Marxists are focused on the destruction of the United States of America,” he wrote in a since-deleted Facebook post at the time. “They want to eliminate the US Constitution, take all your money, take your job, take your house, and control every thought, action and aspect of your life. That makes them domestic enemies of the country in my book.”

Suzanne Ianni

Suzanne Ianni, a member of the Town Meeting in Natick, Massachusetts, left, aboard a bus headed to Washington for the Jan. 6 "March to Save America" rally. She was arrested for breaching the Capitol.
Suzanne Ianni, a member of the Town Meeting in Natick, Massachusetts, left, aboard a bus headed to Washington for the Jan. 6 "March to Save America" rally. She was arrested for breaching the Capitol.
U.S. Department of Justice

Suzanne Ianni, a member of the Town Meeting in Natick, Massachusetts, was arrested last month on charges of disorderly conduct and knowingly entering or remaining in a restricted building or grounds without lawful authority, according to federal authorities.

She was allegedly photographed inside the Capitol during the insurrection.

Ianni is actively involved in the far-right, anti-LGBTQ group Super Happy Fun America, infamous for organizing a series of “Straight Pride Parades” in Boston.

According to a criminal affidavit, Ianni organized busloads of supporters to travel to D.C. for the Jan. 6 rally. A photograph taken from one bus shows Ianni smiling while standing with a man in a Proud Boys T-shirt. The Proud Boys are a violent neo-fascist gang closely aligned with Super Happy Fun America.

Linda Menk

Linda Menk, a school board member in Coweta County, Georgia, is facing calls to resign after attending the Jan. 6 rally.

“Just FYI. I’m here in DC for the Trump March,” Menk posted to Facebook from the insurrection. “These people you’re seeing on TV who supposedly stormed the capitol do NOT look like the peaceful marchers who are 99% NOT wearing masks, And their attire does not look like that people I’ve been interacting with.”

“This smells like a false flag,” Menk added, insinuating that another group was responsible for the violence on Jan. 6.

Community members started a petition to remove Menk from office upon her return to Georgia. Menk, the petition stated, “is not only entrusted with the education of our children, but also expected to be a pillar of the community.”

“As a community,” the petition continued, “we feel that she does not represent the values of this body, our community, or our democracy.”

WXIA-TV in Atlanta also found alarming Facebook posts made by Menk, including one in which she showed support for Kyle Rittenhouse, the teenage vigilante charged with fatally shooting two anti-racism demonstrators in Kenosha, Wisconsin, last summer.

“Kyle Rittenhouse- justified shooting,” Menk wrote in one post. “Please donate to Kyle’s defense,” she wrote in another.

Kyle Biedermann

Texas state Rep. Kyle Biedermann said he marched on the Capitol but did not participate in the violence. “It was unfortunate that some used this gathering to sow discord and promote violence,” he told the New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung in a statement.

Only two days later, Biedermann stated his belief that Texas should secede from the United States.

“The politicians in DC are out of touch with the voices of God fearing Americans and with the radical nature of the Democrat Party, it only renews my resolve to fight to give Texans the right to vote on #Texit,” he tweeted.

Biedermann announced last year that he plans on introducing the Texas Independence Referendum Act, which would have Texans vote on whether the state should become “an independent nation.”

As noted by The Dallas Morning News, Texas cannot legally secede from the United States.

“You can’t claim to be patriotic and file a bill for Texas to secede from the union,” quipped Abhi Rahman, a spokesman for the Texas Democratic Party.

Rahman also said Biedermann “must resign from the Texas Legislature immediately, and short of that, be expelled. It’s time for Texas Republicans to put up or shut up. They either support domestic terrorists or they don’t.”

Biedermann has not resigned.

Thad Lichtensteiger

Thad Lichtensteiger is a county commissioner in Van Wert County, Ohio. A HuffPost reader sent a photo purportedly showing Lichtensteiger at the Jan. 6 rally.

Although Lichtensteiger didn’t return multiple HuffPost voicemails requesting comment on his attendance at the insurrection, an employee at the county commission confirmed that Lichtensteiger had traveled to D.C. for the event.

Here are the rest of the GOP officials who traveled to D.C. on Jan. 6.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article misidentified the state where Charles Ausberger is a city councilman, and misstated the county where Christian Ziegler is a commissioner. It also incorrectly listed Montana state Sen. Theresa Manzella as having attended the rally.

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