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Just days before the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol a year ago, an assessment by Capitol Police intelligence analysts, obtained and first reported by Politico, flagged Texas congressperson Louie Gohmert’s comments on a right-wing news network as potentially encouraging violence in response to the 2020 election.
The Capitol Police intelligence report notes that on Jan. 1, 2021, Gohmert told Newsmax, a conservative media company, that letting the will of the voters stand would mean “the end of our republic, the end of the experiment in self-government,” Politico reported.
“Representative Gohmert then seemed to encourage violence as a means to this end,” the assessment says, according to Politico.
Gohmert subsequently said on air: “The ruling would be that you got to go to the streets and be as violent as Antifa and [Black Lives Matter].”
At the time, Gohmert drew quick criticism that he was advocating for violence in response to the election, which he later denied. Gohmert was not immediately available Wednesday evening to comment on the Capitol Police’s assessment, but in a statement provided to Politico, he said that he had “not encouraged and unequivocally do not advocate for violence.”
Five days after Gohmert’s comments, a mob of pro-Donald Trump rioters clashed with Capitol Police, scaling the Capitol walls and violently forcing their way onto the floors of the House and Senate. The Jan. 6 insurrection happened shortly after the former president appeared at a nearby rally and falsely claimed that he had won a second term.
Gohmert was among the Texas political leaders who condemned the violence at the Capitol, but he did not connect it to his calls to overturn the election.
“Please people; no violence. That only hurts our cause,” Gohmert tweeted the day of the insurrection. “Those leading the charge like the guy in yellow with the communist hammer & sickle tattoo: stopping the violence applies to you too.”
Gohmert recently said he is running for state attorney general, challenging fellow Republican Ken Paxton in the already crowded primary. He announced his campaign on Newsmax and said that “election integrity” is one of his priorities.
Disclosure: Politico has been a financial supporter of The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that is funded in part by donations from members, foundations and corporate sponsors. Financial supporters play no role in the Tribune's journalism. Find a complete list of them here.