The founder of Cowboys for Trump was arrested on Sunday for his role in the US Capitol riot earlier this month.
Couy Griffin, who serves as a county commissioner in his home state of New Mexico, appeared in multiple videos showing his presence at the Capitol on Jan. 6 and posted about the events on social media. According to authorities, those public postings proved he was on the steps of the Capitol following the breach of security fences by the mob, and he was charged with knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority.
Griffin had also posted a video to the Cowboys for Trump Facebook page in which he said there could be more violence at the Capitol if he and other Trump supporters returned, according to authorities.
“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,” he said in the now-deleted video. “But at the end of the day, you mark my word, we will plant our flag on the desk of Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer and Donald J. Trump if it boils down to it.”
FBI agents went on to interview Griffin after the riot and asked about his plans to return to DC for the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden. According to court documents, Griffin told them that he hoped there would not be violence, but he added there was “no option that’s off the table for the sake of freedom.”
Griffin also brought up his actions at the Capitol during a Jan. 14 Otero, New Mexico, county council meeting. He told the council that he had tried to lead the crowd in prayer and eventually did so “up where the President is inaugurated at,” according to authorities. The charging document notes Griffin’s description of where he was during the riot was consistent with videos from the incident — and that location was supposed to be restricted to the public.
In his remarks at the council meeting, Griffin said he was planning to return to DC with a rifle and revolver. He was ultimately arrested in DC on Sunday, according to the Department of Justice.
“And I will embrace my Second Amendment, I will keep my right to bear arms, my vehicle is an extension of my home in regard to the constitution law, and I have a right to have those firearms in my car,” he told the county council on Jan. 14.
According to the Alamogordo Daily News, Griffin also appeared at that county meeting without a face mask, in spite of the requirement to do so.
Cowboys for Trump has organized various rallies and horseback rides in support of the president in recent years. Griffin has met with Trump personally three times, the group’s website said.