PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI). — Dozens of elected officials and several local organizations have banded together to demand state Rep. Justin Price resign following his comments regarding last week’s violent attack on the U.S. Capitol.
Price, a Republican who said he was in the nation’s capital to attend the protest, came under fire over the weekend for making unsubstantiated claims that Antifa and Black Lives Matter infiltrated the “peaceful movement,” rather than Trump supporters.
“It wasn’t a mob, it was a bunch of patriots,” Price told The Public’s Radio last week regarding his experience.
He sent out multiple tweets over the weekend claiming it was a “false flag” attack, despite all evidence pointing to the contrary.
“Trump supporters stopped ANTIFA that were attacking our capitol!” Price said in a now-deleted tweet.
The Richmond lawmaker’s comments haven’t been sitting well with many, including dozens of state representatives, state senators, city councilors and local organizations.
In an open letter to Price, a group of at least 34 elected officials and organizations demanded he immediately resign in light of his “public support for and participation in the white supremacist insurrection on the Capitol.”
The signatories include seven Democratic representatives who serve with Price in the House, six state senators and numerous city councilors from multiple communities. Rep. Brandon Potter, D-Cranston, was the first to call for his resignation.
“In your oath of office, you swore to be true and faithful to the people of Rhode Island and to
uphold the United States Constitution to the best of your ability,” the letter reads. “By supporting an attempt to thwart one of our democracy’s most vital traditions — the peaceful transfer of power — you failed to uphold the Constitution.”
The group accused Price of committing seditious acts, not only by participating in the riot, but also “by propagating racist and unfounded conspiracy theories that Antifa and the Black Lives Matter movement perpetrated violence during the uprising.”
“You lied to the people of Rhode Island and abused the platform your constituents have given you,” the letter continues.
The letter also references the fact that Price wouldn’t wear a mask when the R.I. House of Representatives met last week. (A spokesperson said he and another Republican lawmaker who didn’t wear a mask participated in the proceedings from another room.)
“By refusing to follow basic health protocols, you recklessly undermined our state’s pandemic response efforts,” the letter said. “For the good of our democracy, we demand you resign.”
No members of Price’s own Republican caucus have joined the calls for him to resign to be ousted by his colleagues.
“He has a different opinion of facts and whether those opinions are wrong or not does not empower us to take away the voice of his constituents,” said Rep. Blake Filippi, the House minority leader.
Both Filippi and Democratic House Speaker Joseph Shekarchi said if a state representative committed crimes at the Capitol, they would then consider removing that individual from office, among other punishments.
At this time, Filippi said the GOP is not aware of Price committing any crimes at the Capitol.
Price said on Twitter he did not go inside the Capitol during the attack. He has not responded to requests for comment.