On Jan. 6, Donnie Loftis boasted on Facebook about his involvement in the Capitol insurrection, writing that he "got gassed three times and was at the entrance when they breached the door."
"I spoke to many service members, and we all agreed that we didn't want to be there, but we had no other choice," the Army veteran wrote at the time. "They don't get it that they work for us. And I mean that in a respectful way. My Oath of Enlistment has the phrase 'both foreign and domestic.' We didn't think it would actually be domestic."
Nine-and-a-half months later, Loftis is set to join the North Carolina General Assembly, after the Gaston County Republican Party selected him to replace a member who died.
On Friday, WRAL.com reported that it had obtained screen shots of Loftis' Facebook posts from Jan. 6 from a source who said the posts had been deleted.
But when the station asked Loftis about the posts, he claimed his involvement in the events of Jan. 6 "was strictly peaceful."
"On Jan. 6, 2020, [sic] while I peacefully exercised my First Amendment rights in front of the US Capitol, I was surprised and disappointed to watch others storm the entrance as violence ensued," Loftis said in a statement. "I had absolutely zero involvement in the rioting and categorically condemn the storming of our Capitol building that day."
When WRAL requested a phone interview, Loftis reportedly said his statement was "my final word on the matter."
According to WRAL, both the North Carolina Republican Party and GOP House Speaker declined to comment.
"State law makes Loftis' elevation to the House essentially automatic given that local Republicans picked him," the Associated Press reports. "Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat, is obligated to formally appoint him within seven days as a representative, or the House seats him."
Last year, Loftis resigned from the board of directors of Caromont Health — a regional health system — after he called North Carolina's COVID-19 restrictions "tyranny" in a Facebook post.