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Michigan GOP candidate endorsed by Trump says Capitol riot was a 'highlight of my life'

Republican Angela Rigas was at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

By Emily Singer - March 28, 2022
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Angela Rigas

A Michigan state House candidate told the crowd at a “MAGA mixer” in Lansing on Saturday night that her attendance at the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection by supporters of President Donald Trump at the U.S. Capitol was a “highlight of my life.”

Angela Rigas, who has said she was on the grounds of the Capitol that day but did not go into the building with the rioters, is one of a number of far-right candidates in Michigan who have received Trump’s endorsement. Trump is fixated on the 2020 election, and is supporting candidates who back up his lie that the contest was stolen from him.

Trump endorsed Rigas in December, writing that she is a “committed fighter” and a “champion for America First and for documenting 2020 Voter Fraud.”

He made the endorsement after Rigas publicly said she was proud of her attendance at the riot, during which the pro-Trump mob injured nearly 150 law enforcement officers as it forced its way into the Capitol to try to stop the certification of President Joe Biden’s Electoral College win.

In April 2021, Rigas said, “I didn’t expect to be called an insurrectionist or a terrorist or even a treasonist. I have to say, looking at things now, I consider all of those terms a compliment, because our Founding Fathers were called all the same things. So if you want to call me that, I’ll take it.”

In January of this year, Rigas said during a Republican “Insurrection Anniversary” event at a church in Hillsdale, Michigan, “It was the most amazing sight I have ever, ever taken in, and I hope to God I will remember that image for the rest of my life, the pride of being an American, the pride of showing up and letting the government know that, You need to put yourself in check, that you are wrong, and you’re installing this guy named Brandon into our White House.”

She’s not the only Republican in Michigan present during the riot who is now running for public office. Michigan Bridge reported that five people who were at the riot are now seeking state and national office in Michigan: In addition to Rigas, they are Ryan Kelley, running for governor; Jason Howland, running for the state House; and U.S. House candidates Jon Rocha and Audra Johnson.

Of the five, Trump has so far only endorsed Rigas and Rocha.

But he has given his endorsement to other Republicans who have pushed the same lies that the 2020 election was stolen.

He endorsed Matthew DePerno, who insists there was voter fraud in 2020 and who is running for attorney general in the Wolverine State.

Trump had also endorsed state Rep. Steve Carra to take on Fred Upton, the Michigan congressman who was one of 10 Republicans who voted to impeach Trump on charges of inciting the Jan. 6 insurrection. However, Carra dropped out of the congressional race after Trump withdrew his endorsement in favor of another Republican congressman who is challenging Upton.

State legislators, attorneys general, and governors play a large role in election administration. Legislatures pass laws dictating how elections are carried out in their states, while attorneys general defend those laws in court. The election of his supporters in state governments could lead to passage of the kind of voter suppression legislation that Trump has welcomed in states such as Georgia.

Trump plans to travel to Michigan on April 2 for a rally ahead of the Michigan Republican Party’s nominating convention on April 23.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.


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