OTERO COUNTY, New Mexico -- Otero County Commissioner and 'Cowboys for Trump' co-founder Couy Griffin was among those assembled on the steps to the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 when a riot broke out that left five people dead.
Now, Griffin is vowing to return on inauguration day despite federal officials telling people not to come to the nation's capital and the deployment of tens of thousands of armed National Guard troops.
Griffin said Thursday at the Otero County Commissioners meeting that he, too, will be armed. He said he planned to drive to D.C. with guns in his vehicle because it's his constitutional right to do so.
The FBI, Secret Service and other federal law enforcement agencies have expressed serious concerns about a repeat of the violence that took place last week as Congress certified Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory when the pro-Trump rioters stormed the Capitol.
It came after President Trump repeated his unproven claims of election fraud to thousands of demonstrators he invited to Washington. The U.S. House approved a bipartisan impeachment of Trump on Wednesday, and he now awaits a Senate trial on a charge of inciting an insurrection.
Griffin had posted a video on social media on Jan. 6 that showed him reveling in the Capitol crowd, proclaiming "Anything to get our country back, amen."
He called the event "a historic and amazing thing" and the perpetrators "everyday Americans" and "patriots," saying the chaos resulted from a group of people feeling ignored.
But Griffin added, "I didn't break anything. I didn't assault anybody."
After his return to New Mexico, Griffin said he had been interviewed by FBI agents in Las Cruces. He also claimed to be the target of death threats.
For Biden's inauguration on Jan. 20, officials said there will be no access near the U.S. Capitol and the National Mall, where traditionally thousands gather to watch the new president be sworn in, will be closed to the public.