VIRGINIA (WRIC) — An outgoing Republican congressman in Virginia is making headlines for being one of the few in his party to publicly criticize President Donald Trump’s claims of widespread election fraud.
Rep. Denver Riggleman (R-VA) was recently ousted in his District 5 primary after losing to Bob Good, who will replace him in Congress in 2021.
Two days after the election, Rep. Riggleman tweeted “…stop the Bravo Sierra, Mr. President, and respect the democratic process that makes America great.” He doubled down on those comments in an interview today with 8News Capitol Bureau Reporter Jackie DeFusco.
“We’ve had a lot of these presidential transitions — this isn’t a very big deal. We have had 45 of them,” Riggleman said.
“Obviously the conspiracy theories of ‘Sharpiegate’ and watermarks and burning the ballots are ridiculous — stop with the ridiculous conspiracy theories and let’s understand that the institution is bigger than any man or woman,” he continued.
Riggleman accused his fellow Republicans for failing to speak out because they’re afraid of losing President Trump’s supporters in future races.
“When you perpetuate conspiracy theories like that, but you are afraid you are going to alienate a portion of your electorate so you just go along with it — I think that’s a shame,” Riggleman said. “When you see conspiracy theories and you see the sort of ripple effect of misinformation — with my background in intelligence and counter-terrorism, this is very frightening.”
Riggleman also called QAnon “the mental gonorrhea of conspiracy theories.” He said he owes his constituents the truth and he wants more lawmakers to put country over party.
“Even colleagues I respect, you know they’ve kind of fallen into this trap where they feel they gotta make President Trump happy,” Rep. Riggleman said.
Riggleman said the two-party system sometimes prevents elected officials from doing the right thing.
“I think as you go forward, you have to tell the truth. Listen, people are entitled to their own opinions but are not entitled to their own facts,” Riggleman said.