Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) issued a statement Saturday backpedaling on his controversial comments indicating that street violence is the only recourse in the wake of his lawsuit loss to overturn the results of the democratic presidential election.
Gohmert made the remarks about violence Friday on the far-right news channel Newsmax. He spoke after U.S. District Judge Jeremy Kernodle shot down his court case that argued Vice President Mike Pence has the power to unilaterally reappoint Donald Trump as president by selectively choosing the electoral votes he’ll recognize, and replacing the others with votes for Trump.
The judge ruled Gohmert had no standing to sue.
“Bottom line is, the court is saying, ‘We’re not going to touch this, you have no remedy,’” said Gohmert. “Basically, in effect, the ruling would be that you got to go to the streets and be as violent as antifa and BLM [Black Lives Matter].”
After getting roundly slammed for the comments Saturday, Gohmert tweeted: “I have not encouraged and unequivocally do not advocate for violence.” He insisted he supported the “example of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. of peaceful protest.”
Gohmert’s post flatly contradicted his statement on Newsmax, which he still had up on his Twitter account as of Saturday night.
It’s also inconsistent with Gohmert’s previous comments. At a MAGA march near the White House in November, the Texas congressman urged Trump supporters to consider “revolution” like the American Revolution and the Egyptian uprising seven years ago to overturn the results of the U.S. presidential election. “This was a cheated election and we can’t let it stand,” Gohmert railed.
Gohmert’s Newsmax comments about street violence come at a particularly dangerous time. Republican representatives and senators are maneuvering to challenge the presidential election results on Jan. 6 amid a planned “Wild Protest” that day featuring the white nationalist Proud Boys, linked to several stabbings at the last protest, and other right-wing groups. Extremist chat forums and other online posts indicate the protesters are “workshopping ways to smuggle guns” into the District of Columbia, The Washington Post has reported.
Gohmert’s comments followed a Friday rant by Trump ally L. Lin Wood that argued Pence should be executed for treason by firing squad for denying Trump a second term.
Democratic Party attorney Mark Elias said Saturday that Gohmert’s Newsmax comments should trigger an ethics investigation and sanctions.
Kristen Clarke, president of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, lashed Gohmert’s “brazen call” for street violence after his “bizarre” case was rejected.
Gohmert’s attempted walk back wasn’t any more popular:
Gohmert immediately appealed Kernodle’s Friday decision to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, which swatted it down already Saturday in a one-paragraph ruling saying the plaintiffs had no legal standing to file the suit.
“We need say no more, and we affirm the judgment essentially for the reasons stated by the district court,” read the opinion from a panel of GOP appointees. “We express no view on the underlying merits or on what putative party, if any, might have standing.”