District 11 United States Representative Barry Loudermilk made an appearance in Bartow County last week, addressing the political fallout of the Jan. 6 riots in Washington, D.C.
At a Bartow County Republican function on Jan. 30, Loudermilk said he met with several constituents who were in the nation's capital for the now-infamous pro-Trump demonstration.
“Some of the folks that were there came and visited with us the day before, people that we know and some of you probably know them from Cherokee County, they were up there for the rally,” he said. “Their plan was to come and stand around the Capitol, as do groups all the time, most of them are usually far-left groups … just to show the strength and support that Trump still had in the nation.”
The demonstration, however, quickly devolved into chaos. Loudermilk recounted watching rioters attempt to storm the floors of the U.S. Capitol last month.
“I’m seeing guys in tactical gear, helmets, kneepads and body armor walking through, down the halls of the Capitol, in the rotunda,” he recollected. “This is not going very well.”
He recalled hearing another loud noise during the break-in.
“Immediately, all the Democrats jump up and they run out the back of the chambers as fast as they can go,” he said. “The three Republicans that I could see on the camera turned and they ran to the door … it was the different reaction, there was a flight and a fight reaction.”
In the wake of the riots, Loudermilk said he believes Democrats are expecting Republicans to “lash out.”
“Because the cancel culture wants to use anything that we say, we do or the way we act as a method of shutting us down, and they are actively trying to do that,” he said. “The Democrats are baiting our side to do whatever we can that they can use as a diversion.”
At one point, Loudermilk claimed United States House Speaker Nancy Pelosi “wants us to act like them,” alleging there is a “huge double standard in this nation.”
Throughout his speech last week, Loudermilk made several references to a Pelosi tweet from May 2017, in which she stated "Our election was hijacked. There is no question."
He compared and contrasted the national media’s reaction to Democratic claims of “hijacked elections” in 2016 and Republican allegations of the same thing in 2020.
“If I say there’s evidence of fraud, then I am committing an act of insurrection against our nation and some have said I should be tried as a traitor and executed,” Loudermilk said. “If you say ‘Donald Trump did not incite that riot,’ then you’re committing an act of insurrection against this nation.’”
Loudermilk said his office did receive “advance notice of security threats” ahead of the Jan. 6 riots — albeit, purported threats from foreign actors.
“In fact, Iran had threatened to attack the Capitol on the 6th, to avenge the death of Soleimani,” he said. “They’re actively investigating members of Congress, Pelosi is, for harboring the insurrectionists … I’m sure the fact that we actually had people from Bartow and Cherokee County up there, when they figure that out, I’m going to be one of those investigated.”
During the riots, Loudermilk said two bombs were placed near the vicinity of his Washington, D.C. office. He urged a slow response from Republicans as investigations of the riot continues.
“We don’t need to be going out there saying ‘Antifa caused this,’ because we don’t know,” he said. “There’s radicals on all sides of the political spectrum, we need to wait and see.”
Still, that didn’t stop Loudermilk from alleging that members of the leftist organization were indeed present at the Jan. 6 riots.
“Antifa actually sent some folks there to actually learn how the riot would respond to this,” he said. “Why? Because they’ve been committing multiple acts of violence throughout our nation throughout 2020.”
From his perspective, Loudermilk said he believes the Jan. 6 riots are merely a “continuation” of the violent demonstrations that took place last year in the wake of the police-involved death of George Floyd.
“It’s just the Democrats are outraged now because it was where they were,” he said. “When you look at the violence that happened in Portland, Oregon, Seattle, Washington, in Minneapolis, in Wisconsin, in Chicago, in Atlanta, what was the cost, monetarily, in damage, destruction and lives as compared to what happened in the Capitol?”
Even now, Loudermilk said he believes Democrats refuse to denounce acts of violence perpetrated during the 2020 incidents — and for purely political reasons.
“We’re not supposed to mention those, because it’s different,” he said. “Those people are being oppressed by the government and they were justified in the action, even if they burned down someone’s business, which was devastating to them, or actually murdered someone who was trying to protect them.”
Loudermilk said he believes the so-called “cancel culture” is only going to intensify in the wake of last month’s riot in Washington, D.C. In doing so, however, he said he believes the Democratic opposition may be at risk of "overreach."
Loudermilk said he also believes mainstream and national media has painted Republicans as “racists, bigots and insurrectionists,” among other pejoratives. He brought up an article published by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution shortly after the Capitol was stormed, in which the publication’s editorial board listed himself as among “those whose irresponsible words helped nurture this insurrection.”
“What happened in this election were entities that were not the state legislatures that were changing the election law,” he said. “Our objection was based on the secretary of state changed election law and he is not a member of the legislature, so it was unconstitutionally changed … we had six states that an entity other than the legislatures changed their election law.”
Loudermilk said he was curious as to why the AJC didn’t publish similar screeds when Democratic officials objected to the electoral college results in 2005.
“It actually went up for a vote, 35 Democrats voted for the objection, including John Lewis of Georgia and Cynthia McKinney,” he said. “They accidentally left their names off of the article, that that’s an act of insurrection.”
Almost three months later, however, Loudermilk said he still believes Trump was the “true” winner of last fall’s election.
“The election was hijacked,” he said. “I just retweeted what Nancy said.”