In Oregon, the state Republican Party isn’t just backing former president Donald Trump — its official position falsely claims that the entire episode was a “false flag” operation staged to discredit the GOP and silence Trump’s supporters.
Last week, the state party released a resolution passed by its executive committee that says the supposedly fake operation was meant to undermine Trump and give more power to President Biden, citing websites by John Solomon and the Trump-friendly Epoch Times.
“The violence at the Capitol was a ‘false flag’ operation designed to discredit President Trump, his supporters, and all conservative Republicans; this provided the sham motivation to impeach President Trump in order to advance the Democratic goal of seizing total power,” the resolution says.
State Republican parties nationwide have been castigating members for opposing Trump, voting to impeach him and certifying Biden’s victory. During the weekend, the Arizona Republican Party voted to censure former GOP senator Jeff Flake and Cindy McCain, the widow of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), for not being loyal to Trump, and Gov. Doug Ducey (R) for certifying Trump’s loss in the state. Hours after Rep. Tom Rice (R-S.C.) voted to impeach Trump, the chairman of the South Carolina GOP released a scathing statement blasting the congressman’s decision.
The Oregon GOP, which has a small minority in the state legislature, nominated Jo Rae Perkins, a follower of the radicalized movement QAnon, to run against Sen. Jeff Merkley (D) in November. Merkley won 57 percent of the vote to Perkins’s 39 percent. In December, Republican state Rep. Mike Nearman was seen on surveillance footage exiting a back door of the Oregon Capitol and holding it open for far-right rioters to enter and storm the building. Last week, the Oregonian reported that Nearman’s chief of staff, Becky Mitts, is on the Oregon Republican Party’s executive committee, which voted to approve the resolution.
The Jan. 19 resolution, which the Oregonian reported was approved by party officials rather than elected Republicans in the state, compares GOP lawmakers who voted for impeachment to Revolutionary War traitor Benedict Arnold.
“The ten Republican House members, by voting to impeach Trump, repeated history by conspiring to surrender our nation to Leftist forces seeking to establish dictatorship void of all cherished freedoms and liberties,” the resolution says.
Without elaboration, the group also incorrectly claims there is “growing evidence” the riot at the U.S. Capitol was a ‘false flag’ operation, meaning an event undertaken by one group that is disguised as another. The term has been co-opted by the far right to support false claims.
The Oregon state GOP also compared the Capitol riot to the burning of the German Reichstag in February 1933 — a flash point that allowed Adolf Hitler to seize on the fears of German citizens to consolidate power. Hitler was able to pass emergency legislation that, he claimed, was required to keep the country safe — which included suspending freedom of speech, assembly and press.
“They’re using the circumstance that’s occurred and they’ve turned it around and said, ‘You know what? We need to declare all of these so-called ‘groups’ that we don’t like as insurrectionists,’” Kevin Hoar, the state party’s communications director, said in a video.
Oregon Republican Party Chairman Bill Currier in a news release also falsely claimed that the protesters on Jan. 6 were “peaceful” and that “Democrats and their enablers are trying to falsely assign blame” to them for the riot at the Capitol.
So far, more than 100 rioters — an overwhelming majority of whom are fierce Trump supporters — have been charged for their actions earlier this month. The group includes individuals who stole property such as the lectern of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), assaulted U.S. Capitol Police officers and threatened to kill lawmakers.
In the Facebook video, Currier added that the Oregon GOP’s resolution is just the start. The state party is working with a “patriot network of RNC members,” he said, in several other states “to coordinate our activities and to coordinate our messaging” for their own similar resolutions.
“It needs to be strong and loud and immediate,” Currier said.