LANSING, Mich. - A day after apologizing for calling a riot at the U.S. Capitol a hoax in a video posted online, Sen. Mike Shirkey was caught on a microphone in the state Senate chambers telling Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist that he doesn't regret the points he was trying to make in the clip.
The quote from Shirkey was heard in a hot mic while he was talking with Gilchrist during a session Wednesday morning, just one day after a video of him surfaced calling the Capitol riot a hoax and 'pre-planned'.
"I frankly don't take back any of the points I was trying to make," he's heard saying before remarking about "some of the words I choose." Much of the conversation afterward is inaudible.
The Republican Senate Majority leader found himself at the center of a scandal Tuesday afternoon after a video of a meeting between him and Hillsdale Republican Party members was posted on YouTube. The Clarklake senator said of the violent protest at the U.S. Capitol, "that wasn't Trump people ... that's been a hoax from day one."
"It was ridiculous, it was all staged," he says afterward.
Shortly after, his press team issued an apology attributed to him that he said things "not fitting for the role that I am privileged to serve."
"I own that. I have many flaws, being passionate coupled with occasional lapses in restraint of tongue are at least two of them. I regret the words I chose and I apologize for my insensitive comments."
However, in Wednesday's hot mic moment, Shirkey appears to double-down on the sentiment shown in the video. Here is a transcript of what was said:
Gilchrist: I'm doing some media later. Like I said, I'm gonna give you a heads up.
Shirkey: Just one more thing, before I go. I frankly don't take back any of the points I was trying to make. Some of the words I chose and the topic of the hoax - that event wasn't a hoax. it was very real.
Shirkey continues: But the assignment of cause - that was planned weeks and months in advance by somebody else. Unfortunately (unintelligible) - We're gonna find out. the FBI's going to identify who in the next couple weeks - who exactly was behind it.
Shirkey continues: Some of Trump's people got caught up in the mob and did some things they shouldn't have done. The assignment of cause is really what I was talking about. And it was pretty much a hijacking down there in Hillsdale County anyway. I don't back off very easily. And sometimes I should
The original comments brought condemnation from many in Michigan, including the Michigan Democratic Party, which said Shirkey should resign.
Several other members of Michigan's congressional delegation also rebuked his comments, including Reps. Brenda Lawrence and Debbie Dingell.
Later Wednesday, Gilchrist said Shirkey had spent his time "fanning the flames of dangerous conspiracy theories about the 20202 election and the January 6 insurrection in Washington."
"It is clear that his so-called apology was not heartfelt, nor did it come from a place of humility and understanding. Rather, it was an empty gesture made for political expediency, and one that the people of Michigan can see right through."
The reemergence of the events on Jan. 6 and public official's opinions of them are especially salient this week due to the ongoing impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump, who has been accused of inciting a riot that stormed the U.S. Capitol.