Trump endorses GOP congressional candidate who attended Jan. 6 'Stop the Steal' rally

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Derrick Van Orden traveled to Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6 after he lost a congressional bid in Wisconsin. He's running again in 2022.

Former President Donald Trump on Thursday endorsed a Republican for Congress who was on the grounds of the Capitol during or near the time of the violent Jan. 6 insurrection, when a mob of Trump supporters sought to prevent the transfer of power to President Joe Biden.

Derrick Van Orden, who is running in another race in 2022 after narrowly losing a bid in Wisconsin's 3rd Congressional District last November, used approximately $4,000 in campaign funds to travel to Washington, D.C., for the "Stop the Steal" rally Trump held on Jan. 6, the Daily Beast reported.

Now he has the backing of Trump in his retread attempt at coming to Congress.

"Derrick is a former Navy SEAL Senior Chief who bravely served and defended our Country," Trump wrote in a statement. "He strongly supports our Military, Veterans, Law Enforcement, and he will always fight for Secure Borders, the Second Amendment, and our incredible Farmers. Derrick has my Complete and Total Endorsement!"

Van Orden has admitted to being in Washington, D.C., for the "Stop the Steal" rally — where Trump whipped his supporters into a frenzy with lies of voter fraud before sending them off to the Capitol, where participants beat law enforcement officers as they broke into the building in an attempt to stop the certification of Biden's Electoral College victory.

While he denied being in the Capitol building or close by, the Daily Beast's reported that there is photographic evidence of him being on the grounds inside a restricted area.

His presence near the Capitol during the illegal insurrection, which led to the injury of 140 law enforcement officers, is not Van Orden's only scandal.

HuffPost reported on Wednesday that in a 2015 book, Van Orden wrote about a time when he served as a Navy SEAL in which he showed two unsuspecting women a photo of a lieutenant's genitals.

Van Orden described the women as "cute," writing:

After walking them over to the outside of the lieutenant’s location, I whipped the curtain back. 'Have you ever seen anything like this?' I asked. They gasped in horror as they saw the LT in all of his glory. I'm sure they never wanted to have anything do with a man ever again.

Van Orden is also against allowing women to be Navy SEALs, saying in a June interview on "The Vicki McKenna Show," "The ability to get enough women through training isn't really ― it's not worth the end."

Still, Van Orden has a good shot of joining Congress in 2022.

Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI) — the Democrat who's represented the district since 1997 — announced on Tuesday that he is not seeking reelection.

Kind held on to this rural district by less than 3 points in 2020. Trump carried the district by nearly 5 points that same year, according to district-level results from Daily Kos Elections.

Election experts said without Kind on the ticket, Democrats will have a hard time holding on to the district — though it's unclear how redistricting will impact the district's partisan makeup.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.