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ICYMI: Critics Slam Mike Shirkey’s Inappropriate Comments

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Shirkey suggested the Capitol insurrection was a “hoax,” said Republicans “spanked” Gov. Gretchen Whitmer

Republicans in the states are far from done with Trumpism – just look at the mess in Michigan. In an hour-long video posted to YouTube last week, Michigan Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey was caught promoting all sorts of crazy conspiracy theories and making sexist comments towards Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

Shirkey speculated the capitol riot that left 6 people dead was a “hoax,” and insisted “that wasn’t Trump people,” a theory that’s been proven false. “It was arranged by somebody who was funding it. […] It was all staged.” He even suggested Senator Mitch McConnell was somehow involved. Read more about Shirkey’s baseless claims and unhinged comments in the Detroit Metro Times.

Shirkey, who is known for cozying up to violent militia groups, also encouraged the constituents in the video to show up to the Michigan state house armed in order to test the legality of the state capitol’s new gun restrictions: “carry your long gun in now and test it.” The gun safety restrictions were put in place after Militia Mike’s buddies stormed the state capitol last summer, in what was seen as a ‘dress rehearsal’ for January 6th.

Shirkey issued a generic apology following the release of the video, but today reiterated his support for his insane theories, saying, “I frankly don’t take back any of the points I was trying to make.” He added about the capitol insurrection, “The FBI is going to identify here within the next couple weeks who was actually behind it.”

Backlash against Shirkey’s comments came from all sides  – including a scathing op-ed in Crain’s Business Detroit from senior editor Chad Livengood, urging business leaders to “show Mike Shirkey the door.” Other notable figures weighed in on Shirkey’s comments online:

  • Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger: “This is sadly pathetic.  Instead of taking the censure, he tried to push the lie. Tell the truth. Stop the lies.”
  • Jake Tapper, CNN: “This is just crazy.”
  • Rachel Maddow, MSNBC: “Look around you. Republicans in the states are really, really not moving on.” 
  • Cameron Joseph, Vice News: “Holy hell. Michigan’s GOP Senate majority leader said the Capitol insurrection ‘wasn’t Trump people,’ called it ‘staged’ and ‘a hoax.’”
  • Bill Kristol, The Bulwark: “This is the majority leader of the Michigan state senate. Not a fringe legislator or some party official who doesn’t really matter. The Michigan majority leader. Perhaps businesses and donors should rethink their support for the Michigan GOP?”
  • Andrew Roth, Michigan Advance: “This carefully written statement from Shirkey’s press office also does nothing to clear up his position on the insurrectionists. Does he ‘understand where they come from,’ as he told the NYT, or does he think it was a hoax, as he said in today’s video?”