JEFFERSON CITY — A state lawmaker from Missouri skipped his own swearing-in ceremony Wednesday to join the pro-Trump rally that descended into the attack on the nation’s Capitol.
Rep. Justin Hill, R-Lake Saint Louis, said he didn’t enter the Capitol, but did watch the mob from a vantage point at the rear of the building.
“I wasn’t close enough to see anything. I didn’t see any vandalism,” Hill said.
Hill, a former police officer, said he was disappointed in the events that unfolded as the day progressed into night.
“It’s such a sad day,” Hill said.
His absence from the first day of the legislative session was noted on Twitter by the Missouri House Democratic Campaign Committee.
“Any elected official who skips taking their oath of office to the Missouri Constitution in order to support insurrection is not fit for office. Resign,” the tweet said.
Hill was the leader of an effort among fellow members of the House in December to approve a resolution declaring that Missouri lawmakers “have no faith in the validity” of 2020 election results in six battleground states President Donald Trump lost.
Hill convinced 66 of his Republican colleagues to sign on to a letter asking House Speaker Elijah Haahr, R-Springfield, to allow debate on the resolution.
The contentious effort, which included an appearance by Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani via Zoom, was endorsed by a GOP-led committee, but did not advance to the full House for a vote.
The resolution carried no weight of law.
Hill said he went to Washington to discuss his effort.
“I came out to meet with our delegation about the resolution I filed, to talk to them about our state’s position on election laws,” Hill said.
He said he attended the morning rally near the White House.
“It was just amazing. A lot of families, young kids, several different nationalities and races. It was peaceful, a lot of prayer, a lot of patriotism,” he said.
It was his plan to watch the proceedings in Congress on television.
“I went to lunch and started hearing sirens about an hour later. I walked to the back of the Capitol, and man, the crowd that was there was not the crowd at the rally,” Hill said. “It was different people.”
“The crowd at the rally was a sea of red, white and blue,” Hill said.
Despite Congress’ confirmation that former Vice President Joe Biden had beaten Trump, Hill said he still believes an investigation into election practices is warranted.
“We have to get rid of the doubt,” Hill said. “We have to lay to rest the doubt of this election.”
Under rules in the Missouri House, Hill can be sworn in next week when he returns to the Capitol.