RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Virginia Senate Democrats are calling for state Sen. Amanda Chase (R-Chesterfield) to resign, asserting Friday that the Republican gubernatorial contender helped empower “a failed coup d’état” at the U.S. Capitol.
Chase attended the “Stop the Steal” rally at the nation’s capital on Wednesday, telling 8News she went to advocate for transparent election and to be a voice for Virginians. She said she left before the violent siege, which Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) called a “failed insurrection.”
In an interview with 8News on Friday, Chase said she denounces all violence but reiterated claims blaming Antifa– an ambiguous political protest movement that is regularly targeted by the President and conservatives–for being partly responsible for the violence on Wednesday.
Asked if she thinks the people who stormed the U.S. Capitol are “patriots,” Chase told 8News, “I don’t know who exactly it was who stormed the Capitol and I’m waiting for the investigation to come back before I make my comment on that because we don’t know if it was Antifa that infiltrated the good patriots that came that day.”
Facebook suspended Chase’s official account on Friday, a day after she posted conspiracy theories calling Antifa “culprits” in the Capitol riot. The social media company flagged multiple posts from Chase as false and removed at least two videos.
“I have the evidence and I posted it. That’s what I was putting on Facebook was evidence. Evidence showing it was Antifa entering that building and infiltrating the people,” Chase said.
The video Chase was referencing was taken by a third party and shows people chanting “no Antifa” outside of the Capitol as the mob stormed inside. Few faces are shown and no specific members of the group are identified.
Facebook also flagged a separate post from Chase in which she cites a corrected Washington Times article that now states the following:
Correction:An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that XRVision facial recognition software identified Antifa members among rioters who stormed the Capitol Wednesday. XRVision did not identify any Antifa members. The Washington Times apologizes to XRVision for the error.Rowan Scarborough – The Washington Times
According to fact checkers cited by Facebook, other photos circulating on social media to back up claims of Antifa involvement have been debunked, with one image apparently showing “one man who is a supporter of the president and another who is allegedly linked to a skinhead group.”
Despite initially announcing a 60-day ban, Chase told DeFusco that she is barred from posting on Facebook for 30 days and cannot live stream on the platform or advertise for 90 days. The state senator has mainly relied on her official Facebook page to connect with supporters during her run, regularly speaking directly to them or even making official announcements over Facebook Live.
The decision from Facebook also comes after CEO Mark Zuckerburg announced Thursday that the social media company would block Trump’s official Facebook and Instagram accounts at least until he’s out of office. Chase, an ardent supporter of Trump, accused Facebook of impeding free speech.
“Facebook continues to restrict free speech,” Chase wrote on her personal Facebook page. “Because what I have to say does not fit their narrative my Senator Amanda Chase page has been silenced for 60 days. We no longer have free speech here in America.”
Meanwhile, Democratic Sen. Mark Warner is accusing social media companies of not doing enough to stunt disinformation and hate speech on their platforms, a failure he believes contributed to the riots on Wednesday.
“My message to Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, the blood and destruction that took place at the Capitol yesterday…at least part of that responsibility is on your hands and I’m committed in my position as now Chairman of the Intelligence Committee to go after these firms with a new set of policies to make sure this kind of fomenting of violence will not continue,” Warner said in a call with reporters on Thursday.
After news broke that Chase’s account had been suspended, Virginia Senate Democrats released the following statement.
As we all watched in shock and disbelief at the insurrection in Washington, DC, Senator and gubernatorial candidate Amanda Chase was horrifyingly empowering a failed coup d’état. She galvanized domestic terrorists who violated the United States Capitol on Wednesday afternoon through riots, destruction, and desecration, joining them on their march to Capitol Hill.
“For someone who defends herself and the insurrectionists she calls ‘patriots’ with the Constitution, she either willfully or unwittingly doesn’t understand what her sworn oath to defend it actually means. She has unequivocally committed insurrection, and the Fourteenth Amendment to that same Constitution charges us with the responsibility of holding her accountable.
“Senator Chase has not demonstrated either good judgement or leadership for Senate District 11 or the Commonwealth of Virginia. It is in the best interest for the Senate of Virginia and her constituents to resign.”Virginia Senate Democrats
“Virginia Democrats have orchestrated a complete disenfranchisement of Virginia voters by allowing and legalizing what used to be considered fraud,” Chase responded to the calls. “They should all resign because they orchestrated an all out attack on our Republic and our Democracy.”
There is no evidence of widespread voter fraud in Virginia.
8News’ Jackie DeFusco spoke with Chase on Friday. You can read her responses to DeFusco’s questions below, which have at times been paraphrased.
DeFusco: Are you denouncing the violence that occurred at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday?
Chase: “Am I denouncing? Yes, I’m denouncing any type of violence. I did this with Antifa and Black Lives Matter as they came through Richmond and pretty much pillaged our city here in Virginia. What I would tell you is I denounce any type of violence.”
Chase told DeFusco she posted videos to Facebook of Antifa infiltrating the group in DC at the Capitol. She claimed her video footage shows “actual Patriots” standing outside the Capitol saying “no Antifa, no Antifa.”
Chase: “They were the ones that were instigating the violence. That’s what Facebook was trying to restrict, they don’t want the truth to be known.”
Chase shared with DeFusco that she received a notice from Facebook this morning that they were imposing various restrictions on her state senate account: she can’t post or comment for 30 days, she can’t go live for 90 days and she can’t advertise for 90 days. She said there was one post of her scanning the crowd at the Trump rally.
Chase: “This had to do with the peaceful rally that I attended. I was not at the Capitol building where the rioting took place. In fact my team and I left after President Trump’s speech.”
She said Facebook took down a post in which she was talking about Ashli Babbitt, the woman who died after she was shot by a Capitol Police Officer while people were storming in the Capitol. She said they also took down a video, that she didn’t take but says a third party provided to her, of the shooting of Babbitt.
Chase: “In my opinion it shows a different story than what was being perpetrated by the mainstream media.”
“The liberal left controls social media and systematically targets vocal supporters of President Trump. It’s an all out collaborative effort to silence our voices…this is an all out attack on our first amendment right to free speech. Facebook has weaponized its community standards policy to eliminate any free speech through or expression that doesn’t meet their narrative.”
DeFusco: You’ve been quoted previously as saying the people who stormed the Capitol are patriots, not rioters and looters. Some are calling these people domestic terrorists. What is the proper way to refer to them?
Chase: “I can only talk about the people that I was with that I witnessed first hand because I simply don’t trust reports by a lot of the media sources that are out there…I was at a peaceful rally.”
“I didn’t personally see any rioting or looting.”
DeFusco: But do you believe the people who stormed the Capitol are patriots?
Chase: “I don’t know who exactly it was who stormed the Capitol and I’m waiting for the investigation to come back before I make my comment on that because we don’t know if it was Antifa that infiltrated the good patriots that came that day.”
DeFusco: Why post that Antifa is responsible if you don’t know yet? Many are calling that irresponsible, especially for someone who holds your position of influence.
Chase: “I have the evidence and I posted it. That’s what I was putting on Facebook was evidence. Evidence showing it was Antifa entering that building and infiltrating the people.”
“It’s the liberal left who controls social media. They’re systematically silencing the truth they don’t want the truth to be out there because it doesn’t fit their narrative.”
DeFusco: Virginia Senate Democrats are calling for your resignation. They’re accusing you of galvanizing this riot with claims of election fraud and that the election was stolen.
Chase: “They’re treasonous. They’re traitors to both the United States Constitution and the Virginia Constitution.”
“Virginia Democrats have orchestrated a complete disenfranchisement of Virginia voters by allowing and legalizing what used to be considered fraud.”
“They should all resign because they orchestrated an all out attack on our Republic and our Democracy.”
DeFusco: Do you consider Joe Biden to be the fair winner of this election? Is it time for President Trump supporters to move on and accept that as some of your fellow Republicans have said?
Chase: “Absolutely not. And Joe Biden will never be my president. I will never accept the fraudulent election results that came out of this year’s election. I think the American people were cheated.”
She claimed this was a systematic coordination between the United States and China.
“I hope President Trump invokes the Insurrection Act. I think that’s why they’re trying to impeach President Trump right now.”
“They may have shut down my Facebook page temporarily but they will never shut me down.”
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