'Cowboys for Trump' Couy Griffin Removed From Office for Capitol Riot

Couy Griffin, a New Mexico county commissioner and founder of the group "Cowboys for Trump," is being removed from office over his participation in the January 6, 2021, Capitol riot.

The Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), which represented a group of New Mexico residents in the case alongside two other New Mexico-based law firms, said in a release Tuesday that District Court Judge Francis Mathew ruled to remove Griffin from office under a section of the 14th Amendment known as the Disqualification Clause.

The Disqualification Clause, or Section 3, prohibits anyone from holding federal or state office who "having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof."

Mathew's ruling, according to CREW, was the first time that a court has designated the events on January 6 as an insurrection. While some have labeled the Capitol attack as an insurrection, a key designation in the Disqualification Clause, many Republicans have referred to it in other terms. A Monmouth University poll in July found that 61 percent of Republicans said they viewed the storming of the Capitol as a "legitimate protest."

Capitol Rioter Removed From Office
Trump supporters clash with police and security forces as people try to storm the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, in Washington, D.C. Couy Griffin, a New Mexico county commissioner and founder of the group "Cowboys for Trump," is being removed from office over his participation in the riot. Brent Stirton/Getty Images

Griffin, the Otero County commissioner, was convicted of a misdemeanor for entering Capitol grounds on January 6, KRQE reported.

According to the affidavit for Griffin on the Justice Department's website, he posted a video, which has since been deleted, on the Cowboys for Trump Facebook page in the wake of the riot in which he spoke about how he "climbed up on the top of the Capitol building and . . . had a first row seat." In a January 11, 2021, interview with the FBI, Griffin said that he was "caught up" in the crowd that pushed through barricades and entered a restricted area of the Capitol but never entered the Capitol itself, according to the affidavit.

His removal from office is effective immediately.

"This is a historic win for accountability for the January 6th insurrection and the efforts to disrupt the peaceful transfer of power in the United States. Protecting American democracy means ensuring those who violate their oaths to the Constitution are held responsible," CREW President Noah Bookbinder said in a statement.

"This decision makes clear that any current or former public officials who took an oath to defend the U.S. Constitution and then participated in the January 6th insurrection can and will be removed and barred from government service for their actions."

Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene faced a similar legal challenge under the 14th Amendment to her ability to hold office this year, but Georgia officials ruled that she should remain on the ballot.

Newsweek reached out to Griffin's office for comment.

Update 9/6/22, 1 p.m. ET: This story has been updated with additional information and background.