NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – A New Mexico county commissioner who is no stranger to stirring up controversy is at it again after attending the riot at the U.S. Capitol last week. Now, there are calls for his removal because of what he said.
“There’s going to be blood running out of that building,” said Couy Griffin, words for which he is not apologizing. But he’s getting a lot of backlash about it, even from fellow Republicans and a group who wants him to resign from his elected position.
“You wanna say that that was a mob,” Griffin said in a Facebook video that has since been taken down in which the Otero County commissioner, who also spearheads the Cowboys for Trump organization, talks about the riot Jan. 6 at the U.S. Capitol.
Griffin was there.
“We could have a Second Amendment rally on the same steps we had that rally yesterday and if we do it’s going to be a sad day because there’s going to be blood running out of that building,” Griffin said in the video. “And at the end of the day, you mark my word, we will plant our flag on the desk of Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer and Donald J. Trump if it boils down to it.”
Those comments have left many people outraged. The state’s Republican Party is pushing back, saying they don’t endorse or condone Griffin’s statements, and New Mexico’s House Republican Leader also condemns Griffin’s words.
“But to say blood will run out of the building, it’s not right,” said Rep. James Townsend, R-House Minority Leader. “It should not have been said.”
KRQE News 13 asked Griffin what he meant.
Reporter: Some people might say that the blood running out of the building–that’s a direct threat towards some of the congressional lawmakers.
Griffin: It is.
Griffin: Well, I wouldn’t say it was a direct threat, not at all Rachel [Knapp]. In no way shape or form, I want to invoke any type of violence or any type of physical revolt.
A fellow Otero County commissioner said Griffin has the right to say what he wants. “And so when he says what he wants to say, people, they could agree with it or disagree with it,” said Otero County Commissioner Vickie Marquardt. “It’s still his right, that’s the First Amendment, he can say what he wants.”
Dede Feldman, a former state legislator who advocates for government accountability, said the freedom of speech has its limits. “I’m really a proponent of free speech and of protest, but in the case of Couy Griffin, his Facebook posts and I’ve looked at them, his Facebook posts are actively soliciting violence and overthrow of the government,” she said.
“The abhorrent shock that this individual is still an elected official, sitting on the Otero County Commission having threats like this especially going against our other elected officials, especially our leadership,” said Heather Ferguson, the executive director Common Cause New Mexico, a non-partisan government accountability organization.
Common Cause New Mexico is now calling for Couy’s resignation. “The actions and words from County Commissioner Griffin are simply unacceptable and we need the public to join us in holding that line and saying enough is enough, no more,” Ferguson said.
Griffin says he’s not apologizing. “I know the rhetoric is strong Rachel,” he said. “But I feel like it’s just kind of like the days we’re in.”
Griffin also said he did not go inside the Capitol during the riots. His Cowboys for Trump Twitter page was suspended Friday.
Griffin says he has not been contacted by the FBI over his comments and the FBI said they can’t confirm or deny specific investigations. To remove an elected county official from office is a long process that involves the courts and a petition from voters. Griffin also says he has no plans to step down.
Otero County, N.M., is located directly north of Texas’ border county of El Paso.
- Facility for teen immigrant girls in Houston being closed
- UPDATE: Frustration mounts as migrant camp in Tijuana keeps growing
- Border factories could hold long-term fix for volatile semiconductor market
- Mexico orders 30 marines to stand trial in disappearances
- Prolonged travel ban is ‘discrimination’ against border communities, South Texas leaders say