Charlie Kirk Says Not Everyone in Capitol Mob Was an Insurrectionist

Charlie Kirk, the founder of the conservative student group Turning Point USA, has rejected the argument that everyone who entered the Capital last week was an insurrectionist, saying that many of those taking part were merely showing "bad judgment."

A video of Kirk, a Newsweek columnist, discussing the deadly event in which far-right extremists and QAnon conspiracy theorists stormed Congress, was shared on Twitter where it went viral with over 500,000 views at the time of writing.

The clip, shared by Media Matters news director John Whitehouse, juxtaposes Kirk speaking on The Charlie Kirk Show on Monday with separate footage of protesters violently beating a Capitol police officer.

A police officer was among the five people who died during the disorder. Among those seen inside the Senate chamber was a person carrying plastic zip ties, with many believing they were brought in order to take hostages. Makeshift nooses and guillotines were also spotted at the Washington protest on January 6.

During the clip, Kirk said that while it was "not wise" to climb the Capitol steps and enter the rotunda, it is wrong to compare those who did to terrorists such as 1995 Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh.

Kirk said: "It's bad judgment, all of a sudden, to climb the Capitol steps and walk in the rotunda; it's just not wise. However, 'not wise' does not mean you're an insurrectionist, ok? Let me be very clear.

"Just because you do something stupid, does not mean you're Timothy McVeigh. Just because you do something that is regrettable does not mean that you are planning an armed insurrection against the United States government."

when you brought 80 buses of people to an insurrection and want your audience of republican millionaires to forget it

— John Whitehouse (@existentialfish) January 11, 2021

In a statement to Newsweek, Turning Point spokesman Andrew Kolvet said that the clip is being taken out of context and that elsewhere in Kirk's podcast he described how the rally portion of the event in D.C. was not violent compared to the scenes at the Capitol.

"The small number that actually went inside the building and broke windows and beat cops. Those people deserve to be condemned. Charlie has said this many times," Kolvet said.

"Regardless of what those other criminals did, it does not change the veracity of his larger point, that many others in the area are not criminals, they are simply peace loving, supporters of the president.

"He was explaining that people in the media conflate all of these events and people together in an attempt to condemn all of them—hundreds of thousands of people—as insurrectionists."

A number of people on social media suggested that Kirk was attempting to distance himself from the violence which erupted in the nation's capital after previously claiming that Turning Point Action, the political action committee arm of Turning Point USA, would be sending "80+ buses full of patriots" to attend the capital in a since deleted tweet.

"The historic event will likely be one of the largest and most consequential in American history," Kirk tweeted two days before January 6.

"The team at @TrumpStudents & Turning Point Action are honored to help make this happen, sending 80+ buses full of patriots to DC to fight for this president."

Turning Point Action have since claimed that Kirk's deleted tweet was "ultimately inaccurate" and the group ended up sending just seven buses to D.C., reported The New York Times.

Kolvet also told Reuters that only seven buses carrying 350 students were sent by them to attend the rally in support of Donald Trump's baseless claims of voter fraud costing him the election. Kolvet added that the organization "condemns political violence."

In the wake of the Capitol riot, Charlie Kirk has deleted a tweet in which he discussed sending "80 buses full of patriots to DC to fight for this president."

— Mikael Thalen (@MikaelThalen) January 9, 2021

On Sunday, Kirk described how a majority of Trump supporters were "repulsed" by the violence which broke out at the Capitol.

"The strength of the president's movement is about giving a voice to working people all across the country," Kirk told Fox News' The Next Revolution on Sunday.

"And I can tell you, working people who voted for the president were repulsed by what they saw. In fact, they were saddened."

Correction (1/12/21, 1:30 p.m. ET): An earlier version of this article mistakenly referenced Turning Point USA instead of Turning Point Action. This article has been updated to include comment from Turning Point spokesman Andrew Kolvet. The headline of this article was updated for clarity. In addition, an inaccurate reference to Ginni Thomas has been deleted.

Charlie Kirk
Charlie Kirk speaks onstage at Politicon 2018 at Los Angeles Convention Center on October 20, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. The Turning Point USA founder has dismissed suggestions that the attack on the Capitol last week was an insurrection. Michael S. Schwartz/Getty