The founder of the ‘Cowboys for Trump’ group says his faith in the former US president has wavered after the Capitol riot and defeat to Joe Biden.
Couy Griffin, who was released on bail for allegedly breaching the Capitol in February, admitted in a recent interview that his family had turned against him for his backing of Mr Trump, who had been disappointing.
“I don’t have the same confidence in him,” said the 47-year-old of the former president.
“Whenever you say, ‘China stole the election....The election was stolen from me,’ and then you just walk away? That’s hard for me to accept.”
Mr Griffin, a county official in Otero County, New Mexico, added that the aftermath of the election had added to difficulties with relatives — and his divorced wife.
“I’ve had my own family say some pretty nasty things,” Mr Griffin said of his backing of Mr Trump. “It’s been real hard.”
The cowboy, who infamously alleged that "the only good Democrat is a dead Democrat", assembled the ‘Cowboys for Trump’ group ahead of the 2020 election to further Mr Trump’s messaging on gun rights, immigration controls and abortion restrictions — and frequently faced criticism for it.
In an attack on NFL players for singing “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” also known as the Black national anthem, Mr Griffin said Black players should “go back to Africa”, in remarks that were called out for racism.
“They want to destroy our country,” the cowboy said in a video. “I got a better idea. Why don’t you go back to Africa and form your little football teams. You can play on an old beat-out dirt lot.”
Mr Griffin added in the recent interview that he still thought the 2020 was rigged.
Although Democrats are in office across much of the state, the cowboy is aiming for a 2022 race for sheriff in another county of New Mexico.
“The county sheriff’s sole duty and responsibility is to protect our individual rights,” said Mr Griffin. “You think that the governor hates me as a county commissioner — put a gun and a badge on me, and we’ll see.”
If Mr Griffin, who frequently appeared in ‘Cowboys for Trump’ videos with a firearm, is found guilty of breaching the Capitol, he could face a year behind bars.
Additional reporting by Associated Press