PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A Rhode Island state lawmaker has come under fire after attending last week’s violent attack on the U.S. Capitol.
Republican State Rep. Justin Price tweeted that while he attended the protest in Washington, he did not go inside the U.S. Capitol building.
The Richmond lawmaker then made unsubstantiated claims that Antifa and Black Lives Matter had infiltrated a “peaceful movement.”
“It wasn’t a mob, it was a bunch of patriots,” Price told The Public’s Radio last week regarding his experience. “Antifa went in there and did some bad stuff. Raised the flag for Trump and blamed it on Trump.”
“Trump supporters don’t wear horns and pajamas,” he continued.
Those comments are a reason some Democratic elected officials are calling for Price to resign.
“He’s further perpetuating the same disinformation that has radicalized people to the point of making an attempt to violently overthrow American democracy,” said state Rep. Brandon Potter, D-Cranston. “The fact that he showed no remorse or no recognition of the reality of what happened shows me that he is unfit to serve.”
R.I. General Treasurer Seth Magaziner also joined the calls for Price to resign, not only for spreading false information, but for putting his colleagues and staff members at risk when he “refused” to wear a mask when the R.I. House of Representatives met last week.
However, members of Rhode Island’s House Republican caucus tell 12 News they have no plans to ask Price to resign.
“We can’t kick people out of the House for expressing their opinion, no matter how wrong,” R.I. House Minority Leader Blake Filippi said. “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.”
However, 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 they aren’t aware of Price committing any crimes during the insurrection.
An earlier version of this story misstated Rep. Filippi’s title.