Over a dozen lawmakers joined crowds on day of Capitol riot

CHARLESTON, WEST VIRGINIA (AP) — A second Republican lawmaker from West Virginia who marched to the United States (US) Capitol to support overturning Democrat Joe Biden’s presidential win said in a radio interview on Monday that he hopes US President Donald Trump “calls us back”.

State Senator Mike Azinger told the broadcast outlet that the crowds loyal to Trump were “inspiring and patriotic”.

“I think the President laid out the point of the mission,” he added, speaking to West Virginia Metro News. “It was to pressure the Republican congressmen to challenge the electoral votes.”

Azinger was among more than a dozen lawmakers from at least nine states that joined crowds that descended on Washington last Wednesday to back the baseless claim that the election was stolen.

Only one lawmaker was known to have gotten inside the Capitol and since was charged with a crime and resigned. Others have said they participated peacefully.

It was unclear how far Azinger had proceeded in the march to the Capitol grounds that day. Yet he called the scene at the Capitol “peaceful” and described seeing flag-waving crowds and people seated on the Capitol steps, far beyond the original security perimeter that was quickly overrun by rioters.

West Virginia Delegate Derrick Evans exits the Sidney Christie US Courthouse and Federal Building after being arraigned on federal charges in Huntington, West Virginia. PHOTO: AP

“Our President called us to DC,” said Azinger, who did not return an e-mail seeking comment. “I hope he calls us back.”

The FBI is warning of the threat of armed protests at all 50 state capitals and in Washington in the days leading up to President-elect Joe Biden’s January 20 inauguration, prompting heightened security.

“I hope and pray that West Virginians have good judgement in what they do,” Republican West Virginia Governor. Jim Justice said about the potential for violence at protests outside his own statehouse. “I’m sure there will be (a) heightened alert.”

In northern Virginia, two Loudoun County officials called on Monday for Republican state Delegate Dave LaRock to resign for joining the crowds last Wednesday in Washington. LaRock last week said the demonstrators were peaceful save for “a small element who likely infiltrated this patriotic group for the purpose of inciting violence”.

He and two other Virginia Republican lawmakers had sent a letter last Tuesday to Vice President Mike Pence asking him to nullify the presidential election results in Virginia, a state Biden won by 10 percentage points.