Albuquerque Journal

Herrell distances herself from Cowboys For Trump founder

Couy Griffin of Tularosa was arrested in connection with Capitol riot

- BY ALGERNON D’AMMASSA

U.S. Rep. Yvette Herrell, R-N.M., put distance between herself and one of her most flamboyant political supporters this week as her campaign’s social media account deleted posts highlighti­ng the endorsemen­t of Cowboys for Trump and the group’s founder, Couy Griffin.

In September 2019, days before President Donald Trump held a rally in Rio Rancho, Herrell had posted on her campaign Facebook page that “Cowboys For Trump is truly one of the endorsemen­ts I am most proud of! Keep up the great work, Couy!” But on Monday, the post had been removed. Griffin, an Otero Count commission­er from Tularosa, was arrested by the FBI in Washington, D.C., over the weekend on charges stemming from the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.

Griffin spoke openly about his presence at the Capitol during the riot, including in a video, posted to social media, shot in the midst of the event. An arrest affidavit quotes from another video in which Griffin vowed to return to the Capitol on Wednesday, the day President-elect Joe Biden is to be inaugurate­d.

In the video, which was posted by the Cowboys For Trump Facebook account, Griffin said, “We could have a 2nd Amendment rally on those same steps that we had that rally yesterday. You know, and if we do, then it’s gonna be a sad day, because there’s gonna be blood running out of that building.”

The group’s Facebook page was removed as of Monday. A Twitter account maintained by the group has also been suspended, though Griffin’s personal account remained live.

During the Otero County commission­ers’ meeting on Jan. 14, Griffin repeated his vow to return to Washington and added he would be armed: “I’ve got a .357 Henry big boy rifle … in the trunk of my car, and I’ve got a .357 single action revolver … underneath the front seat on my right side. And I will embrace my Second Amendment, I will keep my right to bear arms.”

He said during the meeting he would be there on Inaugurati­on Day “to take a stand for our country and for our freedoms.” In a television interview for Inside Edition, Griffin had stated, “There will never be a Biden presidency.”

At the time he made his statement at the county meeting, Griffin had already been interviewe­d by the FBI, according to the arrest affidavit.

He faces a charge of knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority, for allegedly entering a restricted area at the Capitol during the riot.

Herrell made several appearance­s with Cowboys For Trump while campaignin­g for New Mexico’s 2nd Congressio­nal District seat, and she was frequently photograph­ed with Griffin, including at the Rio Rancho rally.

On Monday, however, her YouTube account had deleted a video featuring an extended endorsemen­t from Griffin. Griffin’s video was part of a series of endorsemen­ts by members of the congressio­nal district on the theme of “the Yvette I know.” Others in the series remained available.

When contacted by the Las Cruces Sun-News on Monday, Herrell’s office issued a brief statement from the congresswo­man: “What Couy said and did was wrong. I do not support or excuse his comments or actions in any way.”

 ??  ?? Rep. Yvette Herrell
Rep. Yvette Herrell

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