An anti-immigrant bigot who was arrested for allegedly participating in the failed January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol made several appearances on Fox News in 2019, where he shared his anti-immigrant views.
The Justice Department stated in a January 17 press release that it arrested Couy Griffin and charged him “with one count of knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful entry.” The department alleged that Griffin “posted videos to his Facebook page indicating that he intended to return to Washington, D.C., on Jan. 20, 2021, and ‘plant our flag’ on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s desk” and that “Griffin stated that he intended to bring his firearms with him when he traveled to Washington, D.C.”
According to a statement of facts that is included in Griffin’s charging documents, during a January 14 Otero County city council meeting, Griffin said of his planned return to Washington, D.C., for the January 20 presidential inauguration, “I am going to leave either tonight or tomorrow. I’ve got a .357 Henry big boy rifle . . . that I got in the trunk of my car, and I’ve got a .357 single action revolver . . . that I will have underneath the front seat on my right side.”
Griffin is the founder of Cowboys for Trump and a commissioner for Otero County, New Mexico. As flagged by Newshounds, he appeared on Fox News show Fox & Friends on February 24, 2019, for a segment about a recent horse ride he and other members of Cowboys for Trump had taken through the capital in support of President Donald Trump and his hardline immigration policies. During his appearance, Griffin pushed the xenophobic and false claim that undocumented immigrants crossing the southern border bring unusual diseases. He also compared abortion to the Nazi genocide of Jewish people. (Fox News also produced a video segment promoting the Cowboys for Trump group that is available on FoxNews.com.)
Griffin made several appearances on Fox later that spring during which he promoted bigoted anti-immigrant rhetoric.
In April 2019, as the Alamogordo Daily News wrote, the Otero County Commision declared a state of emergency and called on Democratic “New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham to deploy the National Guard to reopen the Customs and Border Patrol checkpoints that were closed in March. … The governor's office issued a response stating that ‘the National Guard does not and would not operate federal checkpoints.’” At the time, Griffin was the chairperson of the commission, though he currently serves as the vice chairperson.
On April 20 of that year, Griffin appeared on Fox News show Your World with Neil Cavuto to hype the emergency declaration and claimed New Mexico’s immigration policies were putting his constituents “at risk.” Host Neil Cavuto noted Otero County’s close proximity to the U.S.-Mexico border and told Griffin, “You’re right at ground zero in this battle.” Griffin claimed that New Mexico has been ranked the “least desirable state” to live in, which he suggested is connected to New Mexico’s immigration policies that he disagreed with. He also added, “We’re getting overrun right now with immigrants.”
On April 28, 2019, Griffin appeared alongside former Republican New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez for two segments on Fox News’ Sunday Morning Futures with Maria Bartiromo to talk about the emergency declaration and immigration. At one point, Griffin falsely complained about the purported lawlessness of undocumented immigrants, stating: “We're going to allocate $500,000 to people that come into our country and break the law right off the bat, but we're not going to take care of our own?” During the appearance both Fox News anchor Maria Bartiromo and Griffin used the slur “illegals.”
On April 29, 2019, Griffin appeared on Fox News’ Tucker Carlson Tonight to again talk about the state of emergency declaration and alleged lawlessness in the county. After providing Griffin with a friendly forum, Carlson told him: “I hope that they get the message, the people in the governor's mansion. Mr. Chairman, thank you very much for joining us. We appreciate it.”
In May 2019, Griffin appeared on an episode of Todd Starnes’ now-defunct Fox News Radio show. (In December 2019, Fox declined to renew Starnes' contract after several on-air incidents, including Starnes telling Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) to get a “one-way plane ticket back to whatever third world hellhole you came from.”)
According to a summary of the appearance at Starnes’ website, which starts with the line, “The good people of Otero County, New Mexico have been overrun by an invading horde of illegal aliens,” Griffin said his message to the White House was that he wants his boy “to grow up in the same America that I grew up in,” and that “I’ll be damned if these socialists and communists are going to hijack and steal our country. We’re going to fight them to the end. So I would say keep fighting the good fight.”