During this Monday’s session in the North Carolina House, Democrats walked out in protest before the swearing-in of the legislative body’s newest member, Republican Donnie Loftis, The News & Observer reported on Tuesday. The Gaston County Republican Party selected Loftis, a 30-year Army veteran and former county commissioner, to complete the term of Rep. Dana Bumgardner, who died in October.
The walkout was over Loftis’ participation in the riot at the U.S. Capitol on January 6th. Loftis’ own social media postings detail his actions, including one post where he said he “got gassed three times and was at the entrance when they breached the door.” In another, since-deleted Facebook post, Loftis wrote, “My Oath of Enlistment has the phrase ‘both foreign and domestic.’ We didn’t think it would actually be domestic.”
In a subsequent interview with local TV station WRAL, Loftis claimed his participation was completely peaceful. “I had absolutely zero involvement in the rioting and categorically condemn the storming of our Capitol building that day,” he told the station.
Republican Donnie Loftis, a self-professed terrorist that participated in 1/6 terror attack was just sworn in to @NCLeg. the @FBIWFO is letting us down. this guy was in the news. confessed on social media and was still allowed to be sworn in to a state legislature
— jackie totally vaxxed harris #MaskUp NO DMs💛😷 (@kittyclinton2) November 2, 2021
But Democratic State Rep. Grier Martin told the News and Observer that Loftis was one of the originators of the planned protest and said there was “no way I was going to be in the room when that guy took an oath to join the House of Representatives,” and added that “one’s service to one’s country when it was rendered is certainly worthy of respect, but when you betray your country, when you seek to undermine the democratic institutions that make it great, you’re turning your back on America.”
— Travis Fain (@TravisFain) November 1, 2021
Loftis, a Bronze Star recipient, declined requests for an interview from reporters after his swearing-in. “I am honored to be serving District 109,” Loftis said before celebrating with friends and families.
— NC House Democrats (@NCHouseDems) November 2, 2021
Read more about the controversy in The Charlotte Observer.