Watch: Michigan Senate majority leader caught on video calling deadly Capitol siege a 'hoax'

Watch: Michigan Senate majority leader caught on video calling deadly Capitol siege a 'hoax'
MIHouseGOP / Wikimedia Commons

A top-ranking Michigan Republican lawmaker is facing intense criticism after footage captured him describing the deadly U.S. Capitol insurrection as a "hoax."

On Tuesday, Feb. 9, Hillsdale County Republican Party Chair Daren Wiseley spoke with The Detroit Press to share details about his recent meeting with Michigan Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R-Mich.), Republican Party vice-chair Lance Lashaway, and Hillsdale County Republican Party Secretary Jon Smith.

Hillsdale County Republican Party Raw Footage Senator Mike Shirkey February 3, 2021 Censure Meeting www.youtube.com

In the video, recorded by Smith, Shirkey claimed the deadly siege was a "hoax" as he circulated a number of other conspiracy theories.

"That's been a hoax from day one. It was all staged," Shirkey said in the video, as he insisted the mob of people who stormed the Capitol building were not "Trump people." Later during the same conversation, Shirkey went on to concede that Trump supporters were part of the angry mob. In their defense, he claimed they were "caught up in the emotion."

He went on to spin another conspiracy theory about the Capitol riots claiming there may have been "darker forces" involved in the Capitol breach. "I think there are people above elected officials," Shirkey said.

One Hillsdale official simply asked, "George Soros?" and Shirkey said, "I don't know, people like him. There are puppeteers. I think they wanted to have a mess."

During the conversation, Shirkey also made a number of derogatory remarks toward Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D). Referring to the Democratic governor, he said, "We've spanked her hard on budget, spanked her hard on appointments."

Shirkey added, "I did contemplate, once or twice, I did contemplate inviting her to a fistfight on the Capitol lawn."

After the video was released, Bobby Leddy, a spokesman for the governor, released a statement condemning Shirkey's remarks. "It's disappointing that Sen. Shirkey is spending his time on political potshots, indulging conspiracy theories, and expressing empathy for the insurrection at the US Capitol building."

Amid heightened criticism, Shirkey has released a brief statement of apology. "I said some things in a videoed conversation that are not fitting for the role I am privileged to serve. I own that," Shirkey said.

He added, "I have many flaws. Being passionate coupled with an occasional lapse in restraint of tongue are at least two of them. I regret the words I chose, and I apologize for my insensitive comments."

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