'I also believe the Republican Party is in fear,' GOP Rep. Denver Riggleman said.
Rep. Denver Riggleman (R-VA) blasted fellow House Republicans Friday for supporting Donald Trump's attempt at overturning the election, calling them "desperate" to maintain Trump's approval.
The congressman, who lost his nomination to another Republican in June after drawing ire for officiating at an LGBTQ wedding, is on his way out — and gave the GOP a scathing farewell speech late Thursday after 106 House Republicans signed onto an amicus brief supporting the Texas lawsuit seeking to overturn the election's results.
"What's going on?" Riggleman asked his fellow Republicans in a CNN interview Friday.
He attributed financial motives to many of the House Republicans who signed the brief.
"The amount of fundraising that happened or piggybacked on this amicus brief, I saw it immediately," said Riggleman.
He added that "Stop the Steal" campaigning is still "huge" for some of his colleagues and that signing onto the brief was a reelection bid to their constituents, many of whom believe election fraud conspiracy theories.
Riggleman called the brief "the political litmus test for 2022," saying reelection was a "top priority" for most House Republicans.
Asked to describe the party in one word, Riggleman chose "desperate."
"I think the Republican Party this morning is desperate," he said. "...I also believe the Republican Party is in fear, and I think it's in fear of what's going to happen to them if they don't go along with the agenda, you know, that's being set by the president right now."
"I think that's the issue, I think there's some fear, I think there's some desperation, but I also think the amazing amount of pressure that individuals are receiving, and otherwise individuals that would make common-sense decisions — I think they're clouded right now," Riggleman said.
He had one more message for fellow Republicans: Give up the conspiracy theories.
"Here's what I want to tell people: COVID is real, the Kraken is not," said Riggleman. "My job now is to continue to speak as loudly as I can about this scourge of disinformation that's infecting so many individuals through the internet."
On Thursday, Riggleman made waves with a brutal farewell speech to House Republicans.
"We must work together to inoculate against the social contagion of disinformation, conspiracies, antisemitism, dehumanization, racism, 'Deep State' cabal nonsense, cults, and those grifters posing as servants of the people," he said.
Riggleman added that he wouldn't give up fighting radical conspiracy theorists within the party.
"For those who spread disinformation, know that I will not stop in tracking those who push falsehoods onto decent Americans," he said. "Radicalization through disinformation has no place in the United States and in this fight I will not relent."
Riggleman's remarks came after the majority of House Republicans signed onto the brief in support of a lawsuit filed by Trump, Texas, and 17 other states in an effort to steal the election.
"This brief presents [our] concern as Members of Congress, shared by untold millions of their constituents, that the unconstitutional irregularities involved in the 2020 presidential election cast doubt upon its outcome and the integrity of the American system of elections," reads the filing in part.
Trump loyalist and signatory Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA) later defended the House Republicans.
"Most of my Republican colleagues in the House, and countless millions of our constituents across the country, now have serious concerns with the integrity of our election system," Johnson said. "The purpose of our amicus brief will be to articulate this concern and express our sincere belief that the great importance of this issue merits a full and careful consideration by the Court."
Johnson, a noted Trump ally, had lobbied the House for support of the Texas lawsuit.
He sent out a personal email to other House Republicans urging them to sign onto Trump's coup, telling them Trump was "anxiously awaiting the final list" of who would sign.
Republicans who have stood up to Trump's false claims of election fraud have not fared well.
Georgia's Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, and his wife, have been plagued by trespassers onto their property and threats of violence.
And Trump has repeatedly slammed Georgia's Republican governor, Brian Kemp, as well as Arizona Republican Gov. Doug Ducey, for refusing to throw out votes. On Thursday, Trump tweeted Kemp was "finished" as governor.
Trump's team also attacked Republican Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler for not being vocal enough in their support of Trump's coup.
Trump previously fired a cybersecurity official who had defended the integrity of the election.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.