Michigan Senator Mike Shirkey Thinks Capitol Riot Was 'Staged,' Mitch McConnell Was 'Part of It'

Michigan Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey said in a recent conversation that "Trump people" weren't responsible for the riot at the U.S. Capitol and that people "wanted a mess" ahead of the violence.

Shirkey's comments were recorded in a video that was posted on YouTube after he met with members of the Hillsdale County Republican Party. The local GOP group later voted to censure him for not supporting former President Donald Trump enough and for failing to stand up to Governor Gretchen Whitmer with regard to the Second Amendment and COVID-19 restrictions.

The conversation began as a meeting about his upcoming censure but turned attention to the Capitol riot. When asked "What about the D.C. thing?" Shirkey called it a "hoax from day one."

"Why wasn't there more security?" Shirkey asked. "It was ridiculous. It was all staged."

Shirkey called Washington, D.C, Mayor Muriel Bowser a "puppet" and blamed Senator Mitch McConnell for being "part of it" because he said he was involved in the decision-making process about security.

"I think they wanted to have a mess," Shirkey said, adding that the "mess" was partially attributable to people who were recruited to participate and to those who got "caught up" in the emotion of being in a mob.

"It's looney. I've known him for more than 10 years and what I saw in that video is not the guy I knew," Jeff Timmer, former executive director of the Michigan Republican Party and senior advisor to the Lincoln Project, told Newsweek. "We're seeing the unfiltered view of this guy...He's unfit to lead the Michigan Senate."

mike shirkey donald trump riot capitol
Michigan Senate Leader Mike Shirkey said the Capitol riot was "staged" and that "Trump people" weren't to blame. Above, supporters of former President Donald Trump protest inside the Capitol on January 6 in Washington, D.C. Brent Stirton/Getty

In the wake of the riot, McConnell, a staunch ally of the former president's, put the blame on Trump, saying he "provoked" people who wanted to overturn President Joe Biden's election victory. He added that they were "fed lies" and called for an investigation into Capitol security.

"The ultimate blame for yesterday lies with the unhinged criminals who broke down doors, trampled our nation's flag, fought with law enforcement, and tried to disrupt our democracy, and with those who incited them. But this fact does not and will not preclude our addressing the shocking failures in the Capitol's security posture and protocols," McConnell said in a statement.

Newsweek reached out to Shirkey and McConnell for comment but did not receive a response in time for publication.

The Michigan Republican leader isn't the first to question whether members of Congress played a role in the riot, but there's been no credible evidence to back up the speculation.

In January, more than 30 Democratic members of Congress signed a letter to Timothy Blodgett, acting House Sergeant at Arms, and Jennifer Hemmingway, acting Senate Sergeant at Arms, requesting an investigation into "suspicious behavior and access given to visitors" the day before the riot.

"There were unusually large groups of people throughout the Capitol who could only have gained access to the Capitol Complex from a Member of Congress or a member of their staff," the letter stated. "Members of the group that attacked the Capitol seemed to have an unusually detailed knowledge of the layout of the Capitol Complex."

The riot at the Capitol took the lives of at least five people, including Officer Brian Sicknick, and is the basis of Trump's historic second impeachment. On Tuesday, House impeachment managers used footage of the riot to make their case for the Senate's conviction of Trump.

At least one rioter, Jake Angeli, also known as the "QAnon Shaman," offered to testify in Trump's trial as to how the former president incited the violence.

More than 100 people face charges in connection to the riot, and a "top priority" for law enforcement is to determine if there was an "organized" mission inside the Capitol, according to Michael Sherwin, acting U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia. However, so far, there's been no evidence of outside groups, such as Antifa, fueling the riot.

Representative Debbie Dingell, who was in the House chamber when the riot unfolded, told Shirkey in a tweet that reposted an article from the Detroit News that she heard the gunshot that killed Ashli Babbitt.

"They came to kidnap and kill lawmakers," Dingell posted on Twitter. "It wasn't a hoax, it was life or death."