Otero County Commissioner and Cowboys for Trump founder Couy Griffin is an insurrectionist and must be removed from office. A judge in New Mexico recently ruled in a case that CREW brought on behalf of three New Mexico residents that Griffin’s participation in the insurrection means he violated the constitutional oath he took upon taking office. Griffin mobilized, incited and then joined a violent insurrection at the United States Capitol to stop the constitutionally-mandated certification of the 2020 presidential election. This attack disrupted the peaceful transfer of power for the first time in American history.
At trial in August, CREW and our co-counsels presented reams of evidence of Griffin’s mobilization, incitement and participation in the insurrection, including numerous photos and videos of his actions and speeches on January 6 and the weeks surrounding it.
Ahead of January 6, Griffin participated in multiple stops of the Women for American First bus tour—a weeks-long, 20-city tour that advanced lies about the election and whipped up attendance for the January 6th rally. The tour was organized by the same group that obtained the permit for the rally where Trump told the attendees to march to the Capitol.
At many of the tour stops Griffin participated in, and in other videos recorded along the way, Griffin used inflammatory rhetoric, encouraging crowds to come to Washington, DC to help stop the certification of the election, while using violent language and referring to it all as a “war” and “battle.”
At a January 3 speech in Bowling Green, KY, Griffin said, “If we allow this election to be stolen from us, we will become a third world country overnight.” He also indicated that he expected violence to take place in Washington, D.C. on January 6, acknowledging that “there might be some of us that might lose our lives.” This and other videos were originally on YouTube but were removed for violating its misinformation policy—an indication of just how extreme and dangerous Griffin’s actions and language ahead of the insurrection were.
At a later January 3 speech in Franklin, Tennessee, Griffin declared that “we’re a nation at war right now … If we lose this election, everything is on the line,” and that “we’re not gonna surrender to them. We’re gonna charge forward.” He encouraged the crowd to come “to D.C. on January 6,” explaining that “the reason why I’m going to Washington D.C. is because my president called me there and I’m gonna be there.”
In Atlanta, Georgia, on January 4, Griffin said, “We want to win it through our democratic process, but losing is not an option. We’ll win it … in the ballot box or we’ll win it in the street. That’s where I stand.”
In another January 4 video recorded in Atlanta, Griffin again anticipated possible violence on January 6 calling “men from across our nation to come to Washington, D.C. on January 6, because it might be a battle.”
In a January 5 video recorded with a group of Trump supporters on his way to DC, Griffin again called upon Vice President Pence “to do the right thing and call this election the fraud that it is, because we won’t take anything less.” He added, “Losing is not an option. … Every card is on the table. Every option is available. And we feel that we are a nation at war right now and we are men that are answering the call.”
After spending days whipping up crowds with claims of a stolen election, encouraging people to come to DC on January 6, and foreshadowing the possibility of violence, Griffin wasn’t just a rally attendee on January 6. He joined a mob intent on halting the verification process and overturning the results of the 2020 election.
The mob, including Griffin, illegally breached security barriers surrounding the Capitol complex on the Capitol’s West Front grounds, ignoring clear signage prohibiting entry. The mob that Griffin joined then quickly and violently breached other barricades around the Capitol perimeter, overwhelmed law enforcement and scaled walls.. By 2:11 pm, the mob breached the Capitol building, where they confronted law enforcement, smashed windows and wreaked further havoc. The below video from the January 6 Select Committee demonstrates the chaos from that day.
Around 2:41 p.m., Griffin approached the Capitol building amid shouts of “let’s fight like crazy for our country” and “this is civil f*cking war.” He used a metal security barrier that the mob had repurposed into a ladder to scale another wall, then fist bumped other members of the mob and declared “this is our house!” and “we could all be armed.” He then helped a member of the mob climb up a makeshift ramp to breach another security barrier and ran over the ramp himself.
Once he reached the inaugural stage, Griffin filmed a speech for social media promoting the attack, saying “It’s a great day for America! The people [are] showing that they’ve had enough. People are ready for fair and legal elections, or this is what you’re going to get, and you’re going to get more of it.” As the mob brutally attacked Officer Hodges and other law enforcement in a tunnel a short distance away from him, Griffin threatened into the camera, “We’re not going anywhere. We’re not gonna take ‘no’ for an answer … Anything to get our country back.”
DC Metropolitan Police Department Officer Daniel Hodges, who was a witness for the plaintiffs in the case against Griffin, was crushed by the mob in a metal door frame and bashed in the face with his own baton. The mob of rioters, which included Griffin, chanted “Heave! Ho!” as they attempted to ram through Officer Hodges and other officers guarding an entrance tunnel to the Capitol. The chanting of the mob can be seen on the first video below, and Griffin’s later description of chanting “Heave! Ho!” demonstrating his role in the mob’s violence is evident on the second.
Griffin’s actions leading up to and on January 6 were a clear violation of his oath to the Constitution. He not only participated in the mob at the Capitol, illegally breaching the grounds and joining a crowd attempting to push through a police line, but he spent days traveling the country attempting to encourage people to travel to DC. He made it crystal clear, over and over, that he anticipated the possibility of violence, and used the rhetoric of “war” and “battle” in order to drive home his point. The evidence outlined above is only a small selection of the dozens of videos presented in the case.