Michigan GOP state Senate leader apologizes for calling Capitol riot a hoax

Michigan state Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R) on Tuesday issued an apology after he was captured on video suggesting the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol was a hoax.

In a statement issued Tuesday, Shirkey apologized for comments made last week in a meeting with the Hillsdale County Republican Party.

“I said some things in a videoed conversation that are not fitting for the role I am privileged to serve. I own that," Shirkey said in the statement. "I have many flaws. Being passionate coupled with an occasional lapse in restraint of tongue are at least two of them. I regret the words I chose, and I apologize for my insensitive comments.”


During the informal meeting last week, Shirkey said he didn't believe that the rioters at the Capitol were supporters of former President TrumpDonald TrumpMeghan McCain: Democrats 'should give a little credit' to Trump for COVID-19 vaccine Trump testing czar warns lockdowns may be on table if people don't get vaccinated Overnight Health Care: CDC details Massachusetts outbreak that sparked mask update | White House says national vaccine mandate 'not under consideration at this time' MORE and suggested the entire mob was "prearranged."

"It was all staged," Shirkey says on the video. The video was posted to YouTube by a party official.

"Why wasn't there more security there?" Shirkey asks on the video, before suggesting then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden sets new vaccine mandate as COVID-19 cases surge Democrats warn shrinking Biden's spending plan could backfire Trump takes two punches from GOP MORE (R-Ky.) "is part of the decisionmaking how much security they have on hand."

"I bet they wanted to have a mess," Shirkey said, adding it was "a hoax from day one." 

"That wasn't Trump people," Shirkey continues, echoing conspiracy theories by some of Trump's supporters. "That wasn't Trump people. That's [been] a hoax from day one. That was all prearranged."


The storming of the Capitol left multiple people dead and is at the center of Trump's second impeachment trial that is ongoing in the Senate.

Shirkey and other Michigan Republicans faced criticism from some members of the party for not standing in the way of the certification of votes from President BidenJoe BidenCDC chief clarifies vaccine comments: 'There will be no nationwide mandate' Overnight Defense: First group of Afghan evacuees arrives in Virginia | Biden signs Capitol security funding bill, reimbursing Guard | Pentagon raises health protection level weeks after lowering it Biden urges local governments to stave off evictions MORE's Electoral College victory in the state.

Days after the election, Shirkey and other GOP leaders from the state met with Trump during a meeting where Trump reportedly pressured them to back his misleading claims of voter fraud and a "stolen" election.

A Hillsdale County Republican Party official told CNN he recorded Shirkey because he did not trust him. 

"I didn't trust him to be honest with me and I wanted to expose his lies and I might need it to keep it for my own record," the official said.