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U.S. Senate candidate Ron Hanks, a Republican, claimed that members of the Antifa movement caused the violent Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol, which Hanks attended.
Hanks is facing one Republican opponent in the primary in June for the right to take on incumbent U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) later this year.
During a radio interview Wednesday on KOA’s Colorado’s Morning News, hosted by Marty Lenz and April Zesbaugh, Hanks said he did not regret attending the riot and defended it as “peaceful.”
Below is the full exchange:
Marty Lenz: “Do you have any regrets about being in and around the crowd the day of the U.S. Capitol riot?”
Ron Hanks: “Not at all. Those were millions of peaceful Americans. It was a peaceful rally. The people I met out there were phenomenal, and I think to impugn a million peaceful Americans is folly, and Bennet has done it. But in the spirit of bipartisanship, so has [U.S. Sen.] Mitch McConnell [R-KY]. So I have nothing but disdain for the both of them for doing that, for impugning the motives of one million Americans. That’s totally wrong.”
Marty Lenz: “You’re a military man. And I’m not talking about the ones peaceful prior to it. The ones that incurred on the Capitol and broke in and went after Capitol Police. You’re somebody that’s served in the military. That looks like that’s an insurrection. Do you see that differently?”
Ron Hanks: “I see the million people I was with. If you are talking the Antifa types that were scaling the scaffolding –“
Marty Lenz: “No. With all due respect, they were not Antifa. I know you intellectually know that. I know you know that.”
Ron Hanks: “Well, I don’t think you know that.”
Marty Lenz: “I think that is readily accessible observational reality. Respectfully to you on that. I think that’s a bridge too far for many people, sir, respectfully.”
Ron Hanks: “Well, fair enough. A million peaceful Americans concerned about their country. That’s who I was there with. Hang the rest of them. That’s a disgrace.”
Hanks, who represents Cañon City in the state House, is a supporter of QAnon and election fraud conspiracy theories. He has said Bennet and McConnell should be “locked up,” for calling the Jan. 6 riot an insurrection. Hanks has admitted to both attending the Jan. 6 riot and crossing police barriers there.
Joe Oltmann, a leading election fraud conspiracist based in Colorado endorsed Hanks for U.S. Senate in February. In December of last year, Oltmann said that he wanted to hang Gov. Jared Polis (R-CO) along with 19 Republicans in the U.S. Senate who voted with Democrats on a stopgap spending bill.
In February, Hanks, in an interview with the Colorado Times Recorder, said he would not tell his fellow election fraud conspiracists to stop short of violence if their legal and legislative efforts failed.
During an interview in July of last year, Hanks said the insurrection attempt was a false flag operation by the Antifa movement. Multiple, independent fact-checkers have debunked this popular Republican claim.
According to a National Public Radio database of arrests from the Capitol attack, none of the 729 people charged in connection to the riot so far have any connection to Antifa.
Also, while Hanks claims that there were “a million peaceful Americans concerned about their country,” at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, crowd estimates are actually between 80,000 and 120,000 people.
Editor’s note: This story first appeared on the Colorado Times Recorder.