Wow, coming from one of the most conservative Republicans in Congress, these new comments by Rep. Denver Riggleman (R-VA05) are really striking. Of course, Riggleman is relatively free to say this stuff due to the fact that he was defeated in a Republican nomination contest by an even further-right-wing extremist nutjob (Bob Good) – and probably also motivated to say it by anger by that defeat to Good. Still, that doesn’t make it any less striking or any less true. For instance:
- “On Trump, Riggleman spoke with surprising candor for a Republican official, calling the president ‘irresponsible’ for ’embracing theories and groups that are dehumanizing and have an anti-Semitic base’ and ‘groups that are just anti-American,’ specifically pointing to his retweets of QAnon.”
- Riggleman admits he was “sorely mistaken” for thinking (duh) the GOP was actually a “live-and-let-live” party. I mean, great, but…why would anyone with a brain ever have thought that? On a related note, why would anyone ever buy into any of the Republicans’ spin and/or framing, such as using the Republicans’ absurd “pro-life” language, when in fact they’re not in any way/shape/form pro-life, but instead are all about controlling women’s bodies and, specifically, reproductive decisions.
- Riggleman’s correct to point out that many (most?) of his Republican House colleagues care about things like “money-making for the 2024 election,” “committee assignments” and sticking with their “team,” but he probably still underestimates the extent to which a lot of these folks have bought into Trump’s authoritarianism, extremism and insanity, or always thought like that in the first place. Still, good for Riggleman for calling out Republicans’ refusal to stand up for our democracy as “completely unethical.”
The bottom line is that it’s great to see Rep. Riggleman speaking out, even if belatedly, about all this stuff. And it throws into even sharper relief the pathetic silence of almost every other Virginia Republican, including folks like Rep. Rob Wittman, Rep. Morgan Griffith, Rep. Ben Cline, House Minority Leader Todd Gilbert, Senate Minority Leader Tommy Norment, etc.
By the way, what’s also striking is that Riggleman is saying all this stuff after two years of spreading lunacy and conspiracy theories *himself* (see, for instance, Audio: More Looniness, Courtesy of Rep. Denver Riggleman (R-VA05), This Time on Impeachment, the USMCA and “Far-Left Twitter Trolls” from November 2019; Audio: On Trumpster Radio, Rep. Denver Riggleman (R-VA05) Rants at Ralph Northam, “you don’t get to preach to me about white privilege, you just don’t” from February 2019; Audio: Rep. Denver Riggleman (R-VA05) Demonstrates the Depths to Which Republicans Have Sunk in Defense of Trump’s Indefensible from October 2019, in which Riggleman ranted about media, “socialism,” the “far left,” “justice Democrats,” etc.). In other words, Riggleman did this same stuff he’s now condemning when it served his own interests, but now that it doesn’t serve his interests anymore, he’s ditched it? So what does Riggleman *really* believe then?