Micki Withoeft is the mother of Ashli Babbitt, the 35-year-old Air Force veteran who joined a mob of thousands of insurrectionists on Jan. 6 to storm the U.S. Capitol. On Sunday, Withoeft spoke on Rudy Giuliani’s podcast about her daughter and the day she was shot by a Capitol Police officer.
In addition to referring to Jan. 6 as a “sham” and the House Select committee as a “farce of a committee,” Withoeft seemed convinced that her daughter was wrongfully murdered and agreed with Giuliani’s co-host Maria Ryan’s assessment that if Babbitt had been Black and the cop had been white, things would have turned out differently.
Lt. Michael Byrd, the 28-year veteran Capitol Police officer who shot Babbitt, is Black.
Withoeft goes on to allege that the decision to withhold the officer’s name from the public “was a further attempt to incite racial division” and calls him simply a “bad cop” and her daughter an “American patriot.”
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Withoeft described Babbitt as “a fun-loving, take-on-the-world kind of girl” who took dance lessons and participated in sports as a kid.
“She embraced life. She was a huge Donald Trump supporter, and she went to Washington, D.C., to protest a stolen election. And I feel like more Americans should have been there.”
Withoeft defended her daughter, who was “unarmed,” and falsely alleged that law enforcement did not render aid or allow the other insurrectionists to render aid.
According to Raw Story, Rep. Markwayne Mullin, a Republican from Oklahoma and a devout Trump supporter, gave an interview to Good Morning America, where he said Byrd, the officer who fatally shot Babbitt, “didn’t have a choice at that time. They were trying to come through the front door, which is where I was at in the chamber, and in the back, they were trying to come through the speaker’s lobby, and that’s problematic when you’re trying to defend two fronts.”
"When they broke the glass in the back, the [police] lieutenant that was there—him and I already had multiple conversations prior to this—and he didn’t have a choice at that time. The mob was going to come through the door, there was a lot of members and staff that were in danger at the time. And when he [drew] his weapon, that’s a decision that’s very hard for anyone to make and, once you draw your weapon like that, you have to defend yourself with deadly force."
In an interview with NBC News’ Lester Holt, Byrd describes the day Babbitt and others tried to storm into the lobby of the House of Representatives chamber.
“Once we barricaded the doors, we were essentially trapped where we were. … There was no way to retreat. No other way to get out. If they get through that door, they’re into the House chamber, and upon the members of Congress,” Byrd said.
What was most astounding about Withoeft’s interview with Giuliani wasn’t her desperate attempt to indict the Jan. 6 committee or the officer who shot her daughter—because no matter what, she’s a grieving mother. It was her unwavering belief that the 2020 election was stolen. That the insurrectionists who were arrested are “Jan. 6 prisoners” and were “patriots.”
“It [Jan. 6] was a just cause,” Withoeft says despite losing her daughter.
Byrd told NBC News he was forced to go into hiding after a barrage of racist threats by right-wingers.
But in spite of that, he said, “I know that day I saved countless lives. … I know members of Congress, as well as my fellow officers and staff, were in jeopardy and in serious danger. And that’s my job.”
EDITORS NOTE: In a previous version of this story, it was reported that Rep. Markwayne Mullin was from Ohio. That is an error. He is the representative for Oklahoma's 2nd congressional district.
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