According to a report published Sunday by Rolling Stone, Gohmert was among several other House Republicans who participated in meetings with planners of the pro-Trump rallies that culminated in the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection. Other controversial far-right Congress members were also involved in the planning briefings, including Georgia’s Marjorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert of Colorado.
Two anonymous sources who helped to plan the pro-Trump protests told Rolling Stone that seven House Republicans took part in the conversations, either directly or by having top staffers join.
Although these sources insisted that the storming of the Capitol wasn’t part of the plan, they were concerned the pro-Trump protesters could turn violent.
“They knew that they weren’t there to sing ‘Kumbaya’ and, like, put up a peace sign,” one of the sources said, according to that outlet. “These frickin’ people were angry.”
Other Texas Republicans have also been blamed for their alleged role in the violent Jan. 6 attack, which left several people dead and forced Congress members into hiding. Attorney General Ken Paxton sued four states won by Democrat Joe Biden, and critics say U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz helped orchestrate an attempt to overturn the election results.
In a statement Monday, the Texas Democratic Party said the fact that Gohmert may have "actively contributed to the planning of the riot … is incredibly disturbing.”
“It’s an outrage that a sitting member of Congress may have helped plan a violent attempt to overturn the will of the American people and the results of the most secure election in our nation’s history,” said party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa. “And it’s a slap in the face to every Texan that Texas Republican lawmakers have been at the heart of this year’s attacks on our democracy.”
Gohmert’s office did not respond to the Observer’s request for comment. But on Twitter, the Republican dismissed the allegations as potentially defamatory. "No one in my office, including me, participated in the planning of the rally or in any criminal activity on January 6," he wrote.
"However, I am extremely interested to find out who, besides the FBI operatives, did plan the event on January 6," he added. "For the purpose of a potential defamation lawsuit against those making baseless accusations of a crime, I need to know who these persons are alleging that I helped."
Democratic lawmakers nationwide also condemned the representatives who purportedly helped to plan the day’s events.
“We’ve never seen an assault on our democracy like this in modern times." – Heidi Beirich, extremism expert
In a tweet, California Congressman Eric Swalwell called for the removal of any colleague who worked with the “Jan. 6 terrorists.” New York U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez also demanded the expulsion of those who “helped plot a terrorist attack on our nation’s capitol [sic].”
Heidi Beirich, an expert on extremism and co-founder of the Global Project Against Hate and Extremism, said she was stunned when she read Rolling Stone’s report.
Any member of Congress who helped plot a terrorist attack on our nation’s capitol must be expelled.— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) October 25, 2021
This was a terror attack. 138 injured, almost 10 dead. Those responsible remain a danger to our democracy, our country, and human life in the vicinity of our Capitol and beyond. https://t.co/D0qLlaFjTh
“I mean, you don’t normally think of elected officials at the highest level involving themselves in something like this,” she said.
Some in the Republican Party made a concerted effort to overturn a free election, Beirich said. During her lifetime, elected officials of a major party have never attempted to undo a vote that was fair.
The “stop the steal” rhetoric and lawsuits from elected officials worked to rile people up ahead of Jan. 6, she said. The false idea that something untoward happened with the elections process was coursing through the “Make America Great Again” and QAnon circles.
“There are too many people who don’t believe in the electoral system. There’s too many attacks on election officials coming from people on the right. There’s too much downplaying of what happened on Jan. 6,” Beirich said. “All of this is harming our democracy for sure.”
Earlier this month, the Justice Department announced roughly 650 defendants in nearly all 50 states have been arrested in connection to the Jan. 6 insurrection. Attackers inflicted around $1.5 million in damages to the Capitol building.
Some North Texans charged in connection to the Capitol riot are now receiving sentences. A spokesperson for FBI-Dallas said so far, 32 people have been arrested across the division, with the latest arrest being made last week.
For the purpose of a potential defamation lawsuit against those making baseless accusations of a crime, I need to know who these persons are who are alleging that I helped. #J6 pic.twitter.com/FngvSUrD7a— Louie Gohmert (@replouiegohmert) October 25, 2021
In August, Frisco real estate broker Jenna Ryan, who livestreamed herself entering the Capitol building, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of parading, picketing or demonstrating in the Capitol. Her sentencing hearing is scheduled for next Thursday.
In a video posted to Twitter last week, Gohmert appeared to defend Trump supporters who were present at the Jan. 6 rallies. He also claimed that alleged insurrectionists behind bars in Washington D.C. are “being abused.”
Gohmert is trying to downplay what happened on Jan. 6 to make it seem like the accused don’t deserve the charges that have been laid at their feet, Beirich said. But such whitewashing of the insurrection is “really, really disturbing.”
“We’ve never seen an assault on our democracy like this in modern times; you’ve got to go back to the British storming of the Capitol for something similar,” she said. “And so it’s appalling that they would make light of what happened there.”