Mike Shirkey Apologizes After Spreading Capitol Riot Conspiracy Theory

In a secretly recorded conversation with Hillsdale County GOP leaders, the Republican Senate Majority Leader called the insurrection a “hoax” and made sexualized and misogynistic comments about Gov. Whitmer.

Republican Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey is apologizing for comments caught on video last week. In it, he falsely calls the January 6 riot at the Capitol a “hoax” perpetrated by anti-Trump forces.

“That wasn’t Trump people,” Shirkey said. “It’s been a hoax from day one. It was all pre-arranged.”

In the secretly recorded conversation with Hillsdale County GOP leaders, Shirkey referred to “puppeteers” controlling things and implicated Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell in being complicit with the January 6 insurrection.

Shirkey also made sexually-charged statements about Governor Gretchen Whitmer and said he contemplated challenging her to a fight.

“We spanked her hard on the budget,” Shirkey said. “Spanked her hard on appointments.”  

Senate Republicans have blocked Whitmer’s appointments in order to gain leverage in the battle over the budget and COVID-relief money. 

Shirkey’s comments drew a swift rebuke from Democrats, many of whom called for him to resign. 

“​Claiming the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol was a hoax is a slap in the face to the law enforcement there that day and to the people who died and were injured,” said House Majority Leader Donna Lasinski (D-Scio Twp). 

In a short statement, Shirkey apologized for his choice of words, but not for the sentiment.

“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.” 

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  • Russ McNamara
    Russ McNamara is the host of All Things Considered for 101.9 WDET, presenting local news to the station’s loyal listeners. He's been an avid listener of WDET since he moved to metro Detroit in 2002.