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As a mob of Trump supporters broke into the U.S. Capitol in an effort to overturn election results, Arizona U.S. Representative Paul Gosar may have realized his constant pushing of election-related conspiracy theories had gone too far.
“I said let’s do an audit. Let’s not get carried away here. I don’t want anyone hurt. We are protesting the violation of our laws … If anyone on the ground reads this and is beyond the line come back,” tweeted Gosar, next to a photo of rioters scaling the seat of democratic government in the United States.
However, on Parler, a right-wing Twitter alternative which was filled with threats of violence before the protest, Gosar struck a different note.
“Americans are upset,” he captioned the same photo.
This just the latest gesture of support by Gosar for President Donald Trump’s attempts to overturn the results of the presidential election. Earlier in the day, Gosar, whose Congressional District 4 spans part of central and western Arizona, led an effort asking for Arizona’s electoral votes to not be counted.
Trump supporters have been using unsubstantiated claims of fraud in the presidential election as an excuse to try and allow state electors to overturn the results of the election that Trump lost.
After rioters disrupted Congress by invading the Capitol Building, leading to at least one shooting, Arizona Republican Party chair Kelli Ward claimed this offered the pretext needed to send election results back to the Legislature.
The rioters who entered the building made it as far as the U.S. Senate chambers, led in part by Phoenix QAnon supporter Jake Angeli, causing members of Congress and reporters to evacuate and shelter in place under armed guard.
Gosar and Angeli were regulars at protests outside the Maricopa County Elections building following November’s election, with Gosar arriving the first night of the protests and demanding to be let in. Afterwards, he downplayed concerns by a journalist who said she was harassed at the protest and accused her of “making shit up.”
Far-right protest organizers later said that they had coordinated with Gosar to organize the protest, which led to elections workers needing to be escorted to their cars by police and the county to erect a large security perimeter around the building.
Messages left Gosar’s offices in Washington D.C. and Prescott were not immediately returned.
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