GOP congressman blasts his own party for spreading 'bizarre' conspiracy theories about the election

GOP congressman blasts his own party for spreading 'bizarre' conspiracy theories about the election
CNN

Earlier this year in Virginia, conservative Rep. Denver Riggleman lost a GOP primary challenge after being slammed by Christian fundamentalists for officiating a same-sex wedding. Riggleman discussed the state of the Republican Party on Monday during an appearance on CNN, telling host Brianna Keilar that it is hard to ally himself with a party that demands such extreme purity tests and can't even acknowledge Joe Biden as president-elect.

Keilar asked Riggleman if he still considers himself a Republican, and the outgoing congressman responded, "As far as considering myself a constitutional republican, I do. But as far as the state of the GOP, especially in Virginia, it's very difficult to. And Brianna, you know the problem with this is that we get caught up in tribes — and we're so afraid to go away from the team. And right now, I'm tribeless…. I refuse to join another tribe."

Riggleman went on to say, "To be the first Republican to officiate a same-sex wedding — things like that — is why I got thrown out in a church parking lot…. And I think that's just how I'm wired: to be outspoken."

Riggleman lost a primary challenge to fellow Republican Bob Good, who attacked him for not being socially conservative enough. Good subsequently defeated Democrat Cameron Webb in the general election.

Riggleman stressed to Keilar that he refuses to kowtow to the extremes of the Republican Party, and he finds it ridiculous that many Republicans in Congress are afraid to publicly acknowledge Biden as president-elect.

"If I can't sit here and spit facts for people — if I am so afraid of my own shadow and of being part of a tribe that I don't have the ability to say what I feel, I really don't deserve to be sitting in the seat," Riggleman told told Keilar. "That's how I feel about it…. We're having a new president; I don't know what the difficulty is, Brianna, to say that."

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