The Leesburg Town Council has passed a resolution calling for Del. Dave A. LaRock (R-33) to resign his office after his participation in the protests at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.
Voting on Jan. 12, the day before the 2021 General Assembly session began, the council passed a resolution condemning the violence on Jan. 6, when Trump-supporting rioters at that protest stormed the U.S. Capitol. It also singles out LaRock, who has faced calls to resign now from the Town Council Loudoun NAACP, the Democratic parties of the counties he represents, and some Loudoun supervisors.
LaRock took part in the protest, as well as encouraging constituents to participate. Following the riot—which killed five people, including a Capitol Police officer who was fatally beaten by the mob—LaRock has stood by conspiracy theories including that the Trump-supporting mob had been infiltrated by “paid provocateurs,” and that there was credible doubt around the validity of Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 presidential election.
“Mr. LaRock has violated his oath of office by questioning in the face of compelling contrary evidence the validity of the 2020 election results of the State of Virginia and the United States thereby sowing doubts within the minds of many of his constituents,” the Leesburg resolution reads. “Mr. LaRock continues to advance an entirely debunked narrative of a stolen or rigged election, while every lawsuit and investigation has shown that these have no basis in fact.”
It also states LaRock has attempted to deflect blame for the events, and “can no longer be considered worthy to hold a seat in the Virginia legislature.”
The council voted 5-2, with Councilmembers Kary Nacy and Suzanne Fox opposed.
Fox characterized conspiracy theories about the 2020 presidential election as “a dissenting viewpoint,” and compared the apparent attempt at an insurrection to outbreaks of violence at some Black Lives Matter protests over the summer.
“With this proclamation, what we are essentially doing is calling for the condemnation of anyone who has articulated a dissenting viewpoint on the subject of November’s elections,” Fox said. “We must draw a bright line right there. We can all stand with one voice in condemning the law-breakers, but to suggest it’s proper to call for the resignation of an elected official because they either participated in or encouraged the lawful and peaceful exercise of their First Amendment rights to free speech and assembly is an entirely differently matter, both legally problematic and intentionally divisive. Do we go back and say that every elected official who ever encouraged a BLM protest where violence broke out should be condemned, or shame them into resigning? Of course not. That would be idiotic.”
“I believe this will only seek to cause more divisiveness,” Nacy said. “Political grandstanding at any level is not really what we need right now in this country or in Leesburg. A lot of us made campaign promises to be nonpartisan, and this feels like a very partisan resolution.”
But the majority on council were in favor of the resolution.
“If the protection of the U.S. Constitution and the rule of law is not important and as nonpartisan as it gets, then I don’t know what is,” said Councilmember Neil Steinberg, the author of the resolution.
“Before you can do any healing, you need to make those accountable suffer the consequences,” said Vice Mayor Marty Martinez. “And everybody says, ‘well, what about free speech?’ Well, there is a limit to free speech. You cannot put people in a position where they are harmed.”
Councilmember Ara Bagdasarian said conspiracy theories need to be replaced with civil discourse.
“It is not okay to invade our capitol. Insurrection to dismantle the democratic process that countless patriots have fought to defend is not okay. As an elected official. Who represents the people of Leesburg, it is not okay for a representative to spread disinformation and conspiracy theories and sell them as the truth,” Bagdasarian said. “It is not okay to deliberately undermine every institution that weaves the fabric of American democracy for political purposes.”
“His [LaRock’s] behavior helped enable and encouraged the attack on our nation’s Capitol by those seeking to overturn our election, who were intent on harming Congress members, and destroy our democratic system of government,” said Mayor Kelly Burk.
LaRock has remained defiant.
“I think it’s a political witch hunt, where people are being made to distance themselves from Trump and from any alliance with or any involvement with this peaceful rally that took place in Washington,” LaRock said the morning after the council vote. He argued the rally was separate from the people who stormed the capitol building.
He has also published a defiant statement on his campaign website.
“Rather than focusing on the business of Loudoun County and the needs of the colored community, they are wasting their time and taxpayer resources to attack me,” LaRock wrote. The use of the term “colored” drew fresh outrage and condemnations on social media.
LaRock today is in Richmond for the first day of the 2021 General Assembly session.