The Rappahannock County Republican Committee became the third local Republican group to formally criticize Republican U.S. Rep. Denver Riggleman, claiming he is abandoning conservative principles.
Rappahannock Republicans censured Riggleman after listing a number of policy positions they say does not conform with their conservative values, including government spending, immigration laws and foreign policy.
“Denver Riggleman has failed adequately to communicate with or to listen to his constituents, and has voted repeatedly in brazen disregard for our wishes while supporting the interests of multinational corporations, foreign governments and K Street lobbyists – interests which are antithetical to those of the citizens of Rappahannock County and of the Fifth District of Virginia,” the censure read, according to Rappahannock News.
In the censure, the Rappahannock Republicans said that Riggleman has voted for out-of-control spending that has led to inflation and jeopardized the country’s economic stability and its people’s wellbeing. They said that Riggleman has continued to vote for visas for foreign workers, despite the local Republicans’ requests for him to do otherwise. Also, they said that Riggleman voted to intervene in Saudi Arabia’s war with Yemen, despite local Republican groups wishing to stay out of the military conflict.
Other groups criticized Riggleman for officiating a same-sex wedding for two people who assisted with his campaign, but the Rappahannock Republicans made no mention of this in their censure. Despite not mentioning the gay wedding, Riggleman asserts that this is the sole reason for being censured.
“This censure in Rappahannock is part of an ongoing effort to punish Denver Riggleman for his recent officiation of a same sex wedding,” Riggleman spokesperson Joe Chelak told The Center Square in a statement.
“Denver Riggleman has an excellent conservative voting record that has brought jobs back to the 5th district,” Chelak said. “We suggest that the Rappahannock Republican Committee’s time would be better spent following the example of other county committees who censured 5th district chairman Melvin Adams over his horrific statements towards the LGBTQ community. Denver Riggleman will continue to fight to make the Republican party a big tent party.”
Chelak is referencing Facebook comments by Adams in which he alleged that the majority of people “trapped” by a homosexual lifestyle were abused by men as children, had dominent mothers or were severely bullied and became gay as a coping mechanism.
Rappahannock Republicans did not respond to a request for comment about whether officiating a gay wedding contributed to their decision to censure Riggleman.