California Republican leader promotes conspiracy theory about pro-Trump rioters

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Hannah Wiley
·2 min read
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California Senate Republican Leader Shannon Grove touted a conspiracy theory on Twitter claiming that the mob of President Donald Trump’s supporters who overtook the U.S. Capitol for several hours on Wednesday were actually members of the disorganized left-wing movement called antifa.

“Patriots don’t act like this!!! This was Antifa,” Grove wrote in a since-deleted Tweet. Grove was quoting pro-Trump attorney L. Lin Wood’s claim that rioters at the Capitol were “peaceful” and that antifa was to blame for the “violence in our cities over the past several months.”

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The mob initially infiltrated the Capitol as Congress was met to certify the results of the Nov. 3 election won by President-Elect Joe Biden and Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris.

For close to three hours, the mob pushed past Capitol police and flooded the federal building’s halls, including the Senate chamber and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s office. Protesters also demonstrated at the California Capitol in Sacramento.

Trump later posted a short video to his Twitter feed, calling on the rioters to return home and stay peaceful. He also trumpeted baseless theories that the “landslide” and “fraudulent election” was “stolen from us.”

“We love you,” he said. “You’re very special...but go home, and go home in peace.”

Grove spokeswoman Jacqui Nguyen said in a phone call that Grove was tweeting from her personal account. After initially posting her first statement, Nguyen said, Grove recognized it was “incomplete” and “wasn’t what she was trying to say.”

Grove then replaced it with the deleted tweet with a statement that called the riots “unacceptable and unAmerican.”

“Patriots don’t act like this!! This is the way Antifa behaves,” she wrote.

This is not the first time the Bakersfield Republican and Trump supporter has publicly promoted false information.

“I still believe ⁦@realDonaldTrump⁩ will be President fo(r) the next 4 years. #EXPOSETHECORRUPTION #USA” Grove wrote in a Nov. 8 tweet that included a Biblical photo that a spokesman said was meant to represent Grove’s “faith that our candidates can prevail in many of these races.”

Grove spoke last summer at an event held by anti-vaccine activists at the California Capitol, when she was honored for voting in 2019 against Senate Bill 276, a vaccine crackdown law that Democrats approved and Newsom signed.

In response to her Wednesday tweet, Mike Madrid, a GOP strategist in California and co-founder of the anti-Trump political action committee the Lincoln Project, called for Grove’s resignation.

“It’s shameful, it’s embarrassing and it should lead to her resignation,” he said. “If not, she should be recalled.”