(Lauren Clark | News 3 Las Vegas) – State Assemblywoman-elect Annie Black from Mesquite is fending off national critics who are demanding she resigns after being on the Capitol grounds when a pro-Trump mob stormed inside and ransacked the building.
Black admits she went to the “Stop the Steal Rally” in Washington D.C. Wednesday, citing that she’s a supporter of the President.
“I’ve attended over a dozen Trump rallies over the past few years, including the one in Bullhead City in October,” she wrote in a press release explaining herself entitled ‘How My Trip to DC Didn’t Go Exactly as Planned.’ “They’ve been nothing but peaceful, fun events. Wednesday’s started out that way…but went horribly and tragically wrong.”
Black told News 3 she could feel the energy shifting as people gathered to hear the President speak for the second time near the Capitol building.
“People were at the front of the barrier saying, ‘Storm the barrier, storm the barrier,’ and then there’s people to the right on megaphones saying ‘This is our house, they can’t keep us out’, so there was a mixture of all these elements, people were just amped up and they just went.”
Black says she turned around and left once violence and chaos erupted, saying she wanted no part of it.
When asked by our News 3 cameras in an interview if she went inside the Capitol building, she adamantly denied it.
“No, no absolutely not,” she said adding, “Going into the Capitol to me was unacceptable, there was no excuse for that.”
She said going inside “Crossed a line” in a building she called a “sacred space”.
“I don’t care if they were ANTIFA, rogue Trump supporters, white nationalists, whatever. Those who rioted inside the Capitol should be identified, arrested, charged, prosecuted and severely punished,” she wrote.
In her press release and Twitter page, Black also suggested rioters may be aligned with ANTIFA. It’s a popular theory among conservative groups on social media, though officials thus far have yet to confirm this is the case. Black also acknowledges it’s more speculation, than anything else, describing the people as being dressed in black and wearing helmets.
“I never, I don’t think said absolutely they were ANTIFA, but I thought maybe, and other people thought maybe, that they didn’t belong there, that they didn’t look like trump supporters,” she said. “That they looked suspicious to me.”
The Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee named Black among 12 other Republican representatives present in DC that day, demanding they leave office.
“There must be consequences for these shameful actions” says a statement from the DLCC in part, adding, “They must resign or be expelled from their offices.”
Black says she’s not backing down, and says the DLCC is only targeting her for differing political beliefs.
“Absolutely I’m not going to resign,” she said. “I didn’t do anything but participate in a peaceful protest, I never crossed the barrier.”
The Nevada Republican Party also sent News 3 this statement, which reads in full:
“The Nevada Republican Party supports the many patriots that peacefully assembled in our Nation’s Capital this week to exercise their First Amendment rights and voice their concerns over the past elections. We also stand for the rule of law. The use of violence and destruction of property caused by a small number of radical actors amongst tens of thousands of peaceful patriots is unacceptable. We have and will continue to firmly oppose bad actors inciting violence in the name of protesting, as we did with the violence we saw across our nation this past summer. Assemblywoman Black had every right to assemble in our Nation’s Capital. She did not break the law, participate in damaging property, or incite violence. In fact, she very clearly condemned those who broke the law. It’s ridiculous to be asking for her resignation for simply exercising her First Amendment right.”
While not naming Black by name, Nevada Assembly Democratic Caucus put out this joint statement with Speaker Jason Frierson and Minority Leader Dr. Robin Titus:
“Nevada families deserve representatives who take their duty to uphold the fabric of our democracy with the level of seriousness it demands. It would be disappointing to learn of any elected leader at any level of government participating in violent or criminal activities.
Any activities deemed criminal should be handled by law enforcement and any actions taken against any member will be carefully considered if appropriate, but we will not be distracted from doing the work Nevadans elected us to do to get through these unprecedented times.”