‘A Mistake’: GOP Rep Falsely Claimed He Opposed Trump’s Emergency Declaration

Madison, VA -  July 20: Denver Riggleman, Republican candidate for the 5th congressional district in Virginia visits Senterfitt Cattle Company as he campaigns, Friday July 20, 2018. (Photo by Norm Shafer/ For The Washington Post).
Madison, VA - July 20: Denver Riggleman, Republican candidate for the 5th congressional district in Virginia visits Senterfitt Cattle Company as he campaigns, Friday July 20, 2018. (Photo by Norm Shafer/ For The Was... Madison, VA - July 20: Denver Riggleman, Republican candidate for the 5th congressional district in Virginia visits Senterfitt Cattle Company as he campaigns, Friday July 20, 2018. (Photo by Norm Shafer/ For The Washington Post via Getty Images). MORE LESS
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March 12, 2019 2:41 p.m.

The Bigfoot congressman just stepped in it.

In letters sent to around 30 constituents on Monday, Rep. Denver Riggleman (R-VA) incorrectly claimed he voted last month to block President Donald Trump’s declaration of emergency. His office chalked it up to a simple mistake.

In fact, Riggleman joined the vast majority of his House Republican colleagues in supporting Trump’s declaration, which the President used to secure more border wall money than Congress authorized. The Democratic resolution to block the declaration passed the House without Riggleman’s help.

Claims otherwise in letters to dozens of constituents, Riggleman’s office told TPM Tuesday, were a “mistake.”

“We had a couple different drafts depending on how the vote went, and I guess we sent the wrong one,” Riggleman spokesperson Joe Chelak told TPM over the phone Tuesday.

Chelak and Jimmy Keady, also of Riggleman’s office, said the incorrect letters had gone out to around 30 constituents. They said correction letters reflecting Riggleman’s vote in support of Trump’s declaration had been sent to everyone who’d received incorrect information.

“It wasn’t misleading anybody, it was a mistake,” Keady told TPM. “We have gone through our due diligence to go back and correct that mistake.”

A copy of the letter falsely claiming Riggleman voted against the emergency declaration was posted on the Fauquier County Democratic Committee’s Facebook page Monday night. A reader flagged it to TPM in an email.

In the letter, Riggleman wrote that while Trump was right to want more money for a border wall, “the Constitution gives the power of the purse” to Congress, “not the President,” and therefore, “I voted to terminate the National Emergency.”

Except he didn’t: Only 13 House Republicans voted with Democrats to block Trump’s emergency declaration. Riggleman wasn’t one of them.

Though the Bigfoot-obsessed congressman voted with most of his fellow Republicans to back Trump’s declaration, he’s publicly declared his wariness of the declaration before.

“I understand why some people want a national emergency,” he told CBS19 a week before the vote. “I do have border experience, but right now, I think we need to lean towards separation of powers and have a congressional way of doing this.”

After this article was published, TPM obtained a copy of Riggleman’s correction email, which was sent Tuesday afternoon.

“CORRECTION,” it read. “The last email you received mistakenly stated I voted for the resolution that condemned the national emergency. To clarify, I voted against the resolution and to uphold the declaration of national emergency.”

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