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January 17, 2021 - Herring addresses threat of extremist violence, demands accountability for politicians who support or stoke it

Image of the Virginia AG Seal

Commonwealth of Virginia Office of the Attorney General

Mark Herring Attorney General

202 North Ninth Street Richmond, Virginia 23219


For media inquiries only, contact:   Charlotte Gomer, Press Secretary Phone: (804)786-1022  Mobile: (804) 512-2552 Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

RICHMOND —In two appearances on national news programs this week, Attorney General Mark R. Herring discussed the threat of right wing extremist violence, and called for accountability for leaders who stay silent, or worse, encourage and endorse conspiracy theories and violence. Herring has been a leading voice in Virginia warning of the dangers of right wing extremism, white supremacist violence, and the rise of hate crimes.


In a Friday interview with CNN’s Kate Bolduan, Attorney General Herring talked about Virginia’s preparations for potential violence, the threat of right wing and white supremacist extremism and violence, and the need for accountability for politicians who embrace and encourage these groups:

AG Herring doing an interview on CNN with Kate Bolduan

“Here in Virginia we are taking this very, very seriously…that is something we have learned from that horrific Unite the Right white supremacy rally in Charlottesville in August of 2017. We have seen you cannot over-prepare and you must take these threats from white supremacist extremists very seriously, and we are. 


“I've been sounding the alarm for years, even before the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville in 2017, about the real threat that white supremacist extremists pose, not just as a caustic element in society, which is serious enough, but also to public safety.


“The politicians who continue to perpetuate the lies and fan the flames of these forces need to be held accountable. A state senator from Virginia who is a gubernatorial candidate was at at least some of the events that lead to the insurrection on January 6th…and yesterday on the floor of the Senate she attempted to defend herself saying she was honored to be there. How abhorrent is that? To say that you were honored to be somewhere where at least five people were killed, and people were prancing around the United States Capitol with Confederate flags and wearing shirts that are anti-Semitic—and a common thread that seems to run through it all is white supremacy—and we have to take these threats seriously and we have to hold those elected officials who are fanning the flames and repeating the lies accountable.”

AG Herring doing an interview with Wolf Blitzer

In a Saturday interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, Attorney General Herring again discussed the casual violence and lying that has been a hallmark of the Trump presidency, and called for accountability for the Republicans in Virginia and around the country who continue to spread lies, saying:


“What we saw on January 6th involved thousands of people storming the Capitol in an act of domestic terrorism. It was a national disgrace, and a desecration of the symbol of our democracy, and the culmination of the Trump presidency, which has been marked by lies and violence... It's been all through the Trump presidency, but especially the last couple of months about the lies of a stolen election. So many Republican leaders went along with it and continue to repeat those lies and repeat the conspiracy theories to the point where the president seemed to be pressuring a Secretary of State to falsify an election, and then to storming the capitol to try to interfere with what Congress was doing.” 


“These political leaders, some of these Republican leaders who should be coming out and saying no, this is wrong, are doing just the opposite. One state official, a state senator from Virginia and a gubernatorial candidate, went to D.C., participated in some of the events that led to this seditious riot, spoke and addressed the crowd. She spoke on the Senate floor just two days ago, trying to explain herself, but in fact actually doubled down and repeated the same conspiracy theories, the same lies, and actually called them patriots.


“Wearing a Camp Auschwitz shirt in the capitol? No, there's nothing patriotic about that. Storming the Capitol with Confederate flags? There's nothing patriotic about that. I think part of the problem is so many of these Republican leaders should be calling it out and instead are just continuing to repeat the lies and conspiracy theories, and words matters.”


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