Rep. Paul Gosar was slammed on social media for sharing a snapshot that seemed to show the Arizona Republican wearing a bracelet honoring Ashli Babbitt, the U.S. Capitol rioter shot and killed by police.
The photo shows a person in a suit and tie wearing a bracelet on the left wrist that reads “@ForAshli,” referring to the Twitter handle associated with the Justice for Ashli Babbitt legal fund.
On both platforms, the images were posted with a caption: “#ForAshli.”
Babbitt, an Air Force veteran, joined mobs of fellow supporters of then-President Trump in breaching the Capitol on Jan. 6, delaying Congress from certifying the 2020 election the Republican lost.
Video captured Babbitt, 35, being fatally shot by a Capitol Police officer as she attempted to climb through the broken window of a door separating the rioters from authorities standing guard by the Speaker’s Lobby.
Justice for Ashli Babbitt has been sharing other images of people wearing similar bracelets for several months as the group demands answers about her death. Police have not identified the officer who killed her.
Commenting on Mr. Gosar‘s photo, several Twitter users with verified accounts tore into the congressman, with some comparing his actions with members of terrorist groups such as al Qaeda and the Islamic State.
“This beyond chilling,” said Brian Klaas, an associate professor of global politics at University College London. “A current Republican member of Congress is wearing a bracelet celebrating and commemorating a woman who stormed the Capitol as part of a violent mob armed with various weapons and zip ties to take hostages … in an effort to overturn a democratic election.”
“Sick stuff,” reacted MSNBC host Mehdi Hasan.
About 500 people have been charged by the Department of Justice with crimes related to the Capitol riot, and Babbitt most likely would have been among them had she not been shot and killed on the scene.
More than 140 police officers were injured while attempting to defend the Capitol building. Capitol Police Officer Brian D. Sicknick was hurt and died the next day, while two later died by suicide.
At the time, Mr. Gosar said the Capitol riot had “all the hallmarks of Antifa,” suggesting the far-left, anti-fascist group had orchestrated the attack instead of the Trump supporters who waged it.
Mr. Gosar has subsequently come to the defense of the rioters, including Babbit, a Trump supporter and follower of the QAnon conspiracy theory movement, as well as those in jail awaiting trial.
Mr. Gosar spoke this week with several other Republican lawmakers outside the Department of Justice headquarters to raise concerns about the treatment of suspected Capitol rioters in custody.
“These are not unruly or dangerous violent criminals,” Mr. Gosasr said Tuesday. “These are political prisoners who are now being persecuted and bearing the pain of unjust suffering.”
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