Shirkey caught on hot mic, says he 'stands by' statement calling Capitol riot a hoax

Posted at 1:11 PM, Feb 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-11 08:37:28-05

(WXYZ) — Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey was caught on a hot mic Wednesday on the Senate floor insisting to Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist that he does not take back any of the statements he has made recently.

Shirkey has faced backlash for claiming the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol was a "hoax."

Shirkey later released a statement apologizing for his comments.

“I said some things in a videoed conversation that are not fitting for the role I am privileged to serve," the Senate Majority Leader said in a statement. "I own that. I have many flaws. Being passionate coupled with an occasional lapse in restraint of tongue are at least two of them. I regret the words I chose, and I apologize for my insensitive comments.”

Additionally, Shirkey previously revealed in an interview on JTV’s Bart Hawley Show that he met with militia leaders before the FBI interrupted the plot to kidnap and potentially kill Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

“The militia groups are getting a bad rap,” said Shirkey in the Sept. 10 interview, who characterized protests as having fringe elements that are not under the militia umbrella.

“As elected officials, what we do and what we say matters, and that is true now more than ever as Michiganders look to us for leadership in steering the state through this ongoing pandemic and economic recovery," Gilchrist said in a press release. "But rather than focus on these issues — getting vaccines for people, getting our kids safely back into the classroom and supporting our small businesses — the Senate Majority Leader has chosen to spend his time and energy fanning the flames of dangerous conspiracy theories about the 2020 election and the January 6 insurrection in Washington, alongside aggressive, sexist threats toward the governor. This behavior is beneath the office he was elected to and the standard of decency the people of our state deserve."

"It is clear that his so-called apology was not heartfelt, nor did it come from a place of humility and understanding," Gilchrist said. "Rather, it was an empty gesture made for political expediency, and one that the people of Michigan can see right through."

Gilchrist called on Republican leaders in the Legislature to publicly denounce Shirkey's comments.