Updated January 8, 2021 - 6:40 pm
Newly elected Nevada Assemblywoman Annie Black shared a lengthy account on Friday of her participation in the protest that ultimately led to a deadly riot and occupation of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday.
She said she did not enter the building, and she condemned the violence while continuing to raise the as-yet-unproven claim that outside agitators contributed to it.
Black, a former Mesquite councilwoman and a fervent President Donald Trump supporter, shared her story Friday in one of her semi-regular email blasts sent out through her campaign website.
On Friday, the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, the national organizing arm aimed at electing Democrats to state legislatures, called for the resignation of Black and 12 other Republican legislators who attended the Capitol event.
In an interview, Black said she has no plans to resign.
In her email, Black said she and other Americans went to Washington to “express frustration with and opposition to the manner in which the 2020 election was conducted.” She said it was an exercise of free speech.
Black criticized the news media and deflected any blame away from Trump, who she said did not incite any sort of violence.
She said she went to the Capitol because she heard that Trump would give another speech. There, she heard someone yell to “storm the barrier” outside the building.
Black said she did not follow, instead moving toward the U.S. Supreme Court building and watching from a distance.
Black implied throughout her email that people who were not part of the pro-Trump protests had instigated the violence, sharing several accounts she said she witnessed of Trump supporters attempting to stop the instigators.
She quoted a New York Post story citing an unnamed source who told the newspaper that several far-left “antifa” members had infiltrated the protest.
While a popular theory among conservative social media users, the infiltration claim has yet to be proved.
On Friday, according to The New York Times, FBI Assistant Director Steven D’Antuono said in a call with reporters that there was “no indication” that antifa members were among those who stormed the Capitol.
Friday saw the arrest of several well-known, avowed Trump supporters on charges of illegally entering a restricted federal building, including Hawaii Proud Boys founder and former Republican congressional candidate Nick Ochs and newly elected Republican West Virginia state lawmaker Derrick Evans.
As of Friday, five people had died, either during the riots or as a result of them.
Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick died Thursday from injuries he sustained while engaging rioters, and Ashli Babbitt was shot and killed Wednesday by a Capitol Police officer as she attempted to breach a barricaded door. Three more died during the riots as a result of medical emergencies.
In an interview, Black said she saw people dressed in gas masks and helmets. She said that she could not guarantee that they were not Trump supporters but that they didn’t appear to be part of the main protest group.
Black ultimately wrote in the email that it did not matter whether the instigators were Trump supporters or part of any other group.
“Regardless. I don’t care if they were Antifa, rogue Trump supporters, white nationalists, whatever. Those who rioted inside the Capitol should be identified, arrested, charged, prosecuted and severely punished,” she wrote in bold lettering toward the bottom of her email.
Calls to resign
Black easily defeated incumbent Republican Chris Edwards in the June primary on a platform that Edwards was not conservative enough and did not support the president as much as she did. She won election in November after running unopposed.
She maintains a Twitter presence that routinely criticizes Democratic politicians, particularly Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak, as well as the results of the state’s most recent election.
The Democrats officially joined a sparse social media chorus Friday asking Black to resign, with a DLCC statement saying Black and other identified legislators, including Evans, had been involved in a “terrorist insurrection” Wednesday.
“There is blood on the ground at Capitol Hill, and Republicans have nothing to say about their own elected officials who cheered on the rioters,” said DLCC President Jessica Post. “There must be consequences for these shameful actions.”
Post called for the legislators to resign or be expelled from office.
In response, Black said Friday that she never passed any barrier or encouraged any rioting.
“That was not going to help our cause, and I was not going to be a part of it,” she said.
On Friday, Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson and Assembly Minority Leader Dr. Robin Titus put out a joint statement that appeared to address Black’s email.
“Nevada families deserve representatives who take their duty to uphold the fabric of our democracy with the level of seriousness it demands,” the joint statement reads. “It would be disappointing to learn of any elected leader at any level of government participating in violent or criminal activities.
“Any activities deemed criminal should be handled by law enforcement and any actions taken against any member will be carefully considered if appropriate, but we will not be distracted from doing the work Nevadans elected us to do through these unprecedented times.”