Protests in DC This Week May Become Violent. Rep. Louis Gohmert Seemed to Think That Was Fine.

He tried to backpedal but his message was clear.

Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call via AP Images

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First, Rep. Louis Gohmert (R-Texas) filed a lawsuit trying to force Vice President Mike Pence to overturn the election results in which President Donald Trump was decisively defeated by former Vice President Joe Biden. Pence himself asked the judge to throw out Gohmert’s challenge, which had no merit beyond unsubstantiated right-wing conspiratorial claims of voter fraud and election manipulation. 

On Friday evening, a federal appeals court judge apparently agreed with the vice president and threw out the case, saying, “Congressman Gohmert’s alleged injury requires a series of hypothetical—but by no means certain—events.” Then on Saturday evening, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals also dismissed the case. 

But Gohmert had already offered another option as a potential method of redress.

“Basically, in effect, the ruling would be that you’ve got to go to the streets and be as violent as Antifa and BLM,” Gohmert said on Friday to the pro-Trump channel Newsmax.

 

Trump supporters have vowed to show up in Washington, DC, on January 6th when Congress is expected to officially count the electoral college votes—the final step to certifying Biden’s election as president. Trump and others have encouraged supporters to demonstrate in the city and protest what they falsely claim are the illegal results of the election. They appear to expect a deus ex machina resolution that will show that Trump has somehow actually won the election and will be president for another four years.  DC activists have warned of a strong potential for violence, according to The Washington Post. The newspaper also reported that extremists have called for violence and encouraged smuggling weapons into the city in online chats. 

Groups like the Proud Boys, a neofascist group with a history of inciting violence, extremist militias, conspiracy theorists, and white supremacists have all said that they plan on showing up, which Trump has encouraged. 

A Jan. 3 screenshot of a post by Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio, on the right-wing social platform, Parler. Parler

Gohmert—whose incitement of violence is much more concerning than his longshot legal challenge ever was—has tried to backpedal his unambiguous comment. He said in a statement that he had “not encouraged and unequivocally do not advocate for violence.”

But even if he no longer advocates for violence, Gohmert is not alone in challenging the democratic process. On Saturday, my colleague Becca Andrews wrote about how 12 Republican Senators including, Sens. Ted Cruz (Texas) and Josh Hawley (Mo.) said that on 6th, they plan to challenge the congressional certification of the electoral college vote, adding fuel to the fire in the protests that will be happening outside. Even though Pence declined to support Gohmert’s suit, on Saturday, he said that he supports the Republican Senators’ challenge to the election results. 

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