Cowboy gets head shakes and eye rolls during national TV appearance

New Mexico’s most notorious cowboy earned a couple head shakes and eye rolls during a recent national television appearance, when he was interviewed by CNN for a special report on the pro-Trump mob that swarmed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

Otero County Commissioner Couy Griffin, the founder of Cowboys for Trump, is facing charges of disorderly conduct and entering or remaining in a restricted building or grounds in connection with that day, when he tried to pray with the mob through a bullhorn from the steps of the building.

“I’m really hoping that the judge will dismiss the charges,” Griffin told the Journal. “What I was a part of on Jan. 6 wasn’t a violent mob or anything that looked like an insurrection. What I was a part of was a peaceful protest where I joined shoulder-to-shoulder with like-minded patriots who have concerns about election integrity.

“I went with the heart to pray with people, and that’s what I did.”

The CNN special aired last Sunday and included an interview with Griffin in a barn in southern New Mexico and footage of Griffin feeding Henry, his mule.

Sporting his “Cowboys for Trump” shirt and a cowboy hat, Griffin questioned whether people actually died during the January riot.

“I’m not even so sure that Officer Sicknick’s even dead,” Griffin said, referring to Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, who suffered a stroke and died the day after protesters stormed the building. “I hate to be so crazy conspiracy minded. I’m not even so sure that Ashli Babbitt is dead. I mean, have you seen anything of her family?”

Babbitt, a protester, was shot and killed by a police officer as she tried to climb through a door where the glass was smashed out inside the Capitol building. Her family has given several interviews about her death and the U.S. Department of Justice has released some of the details of the investigation into the officer who shot her.

Griffin’s remarks astonished the interviewer, and they drew a rebuke from New Mexico Democrats.

“There is no reason that GOP leaders should hesitate to condemn this behavior or call for Couy Griffin’s resignation as county commissioner,” said Jessica Velasquez, the chair of the state Democratic Party. “The GOP has stood by silently for too long. Their cowardice makes it clear that Griffin’s unhinged beliefs are not so out-of-line with those of their own party.”

Griffin said in an interview with the Journal that he made his remarks because he has questions about what has been reported about the deaths. He said originally it was reported that Sicknick died of blunt force trauma, when he actually died of natural causes. And Griffin said he traveled to San Diego, California, to meet with Babbit’s family and friends but couldn’t find them.

“I don’t believe anything, at this point, that the media tells us, or, unfortunately, what the government says,” he said. “That’s why I stand on the ground that I do. I just don’t know.”

BRING TRUMP ALONG: Vice President Kamala Harris visited the southern border in El Paso, on Friday. New Mexico Rep. Yvette Herrell, an advocate for tighter controls at the border, has been asking the VP to make such a trip for more than a month.

The lone Republican member of the state’s congressional delegation, Herrell has written two letters to Harris inviting her to New Mexico’s southern border, including one sent last week recommending Harris bring a visitor.

“May I also suggest you visit the border with former President Donald Trump,” Herrell wrote. “President Trump can provide you with an in-depth briefing on the programs that led to the most secure border in decades.”

Suffice it to say, that didn’t happen.

RESTAURANT RESCUE: Sen. Martin Heinrich is continuing to try to help restaurants affected by the pandemic.

The New Mexico Democrat was part of a bipartisan group of senators who sponsored a bill last week that would provide an additional $60 billion in relief for restaurants and other eligible businesses. There was about $28.6 billion in aid included in the American Rescue Plan for such businesses.

“As New Mexicans, we know the value of good food and good company – it’s why our local restaurants are such anchors in our community,” Heinrich said in a prepared statement. “That’s why I’m dedicated to securing additional relief so that our smallest, locally-owned food trucks, bars, and restaurants keep their doors open and their employees on payroll.”


Ryan Boetel: rboetel@abqjournal.com

 

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