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Dorothy, I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore.

In a somewhat unbelievable development, that perhaps could have been predicted, a Michigan State Senator has claimed that the Jan. 6 violent domestic insurrection at the U.S. Capitol was a “hoax” perpetrated by those who he called “Trump haters.”

As reported by The MetroTimes, in the past few days, Michigan State Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey has actually suggested the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol was a “hoax” perpetrated by opponents of former President Donald Trump.

“That wasn’t Trump’s people. That’s been a hoax from day one. That was all prearranged,” said Shirkey, a Clarklake Republican, of the riot. “It was arranged by somebody who was funding it. … It was all staged.”

Michigan’s top Senate Republican made that bizarre and utterly false ‘Land of Oz’ statement during a video-recorded meeting at a dinner last week with leaders of the Hillsdale County Republican Party. He did it for an apparent political reason: survival. The group of state GOP leaders is reported to have been discussing censuring him for not taking a bold enough stand against Democrats.

This is the same state of Michigan in which armed right-wing militia groups surrounded the State Capitol, and guns at the ready, filled the balconies above the General Assembly floor as lawmakers attempted to legislate.

This is the same Michigan where a paramilitary militia group that called themselves the Wolverine Watchmen, with ties to the violent Boogaloo Bois, set out to kidnap and execute Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, a plan thwarted by the FBI in the knick of time.

So while it’s shocking, it probably shouldn’t surprise AVV readers that a Michigan state senator is espousing a fake narrative. To set the recorded straight:

  • The violent attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6 by tens of thousands of Trump supporters, was real. It happened.
  • Trump himself incited it and is on video telling the crowd at his rally earlier that day to march on the Capitol.
  • According to the New York Times, based on leaked cell phone location data, about 40 percent of the phones tracked near the rally stage on the National Mall during Trump’s rally speeches were also found in and around the Capitol during the siege.

During the same speech, Shirkey rambled on claiming, with no evidence, a darker conspiracy of higher-ups who were “the  puppeteers” and insinuating that Sen. Mitch McConnell “was part of” a staged insurrection.

According to The New York Times, last week, Shirkey also expressed empathy for the Capitol rioters in an interview: “It was people feeling oppressed, and depressed, responding to what they thought was government just stealing their lives from them,” he said. “And I’m not endorsing and supporting their actions, but I understand where they come from.”

So now the attack on the Capitol has been added to the list of things that a swath of radicalized people believe weren’t real; for them, the attack on the Capitol probably joins the list of “not real”: the assassination of JFK, 9-11, and the 1969 moon landing.

Dorothy might be right at home in Michigan. But then again, if it can happen in Michigan, it could  happen anywhere.