NC Democrats walk out of House session to protest swearing in of Republican who attended Jan 6 riot

During this Monday's session in the North Carolina House, Democrats walked out in protest before the swearing in of the legislative body's newest member, Republican Donnie Loftis, The News & Observer reports.

The walkout was over Loftis' participation in the riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. Loftis' own social media postings detail his actions, including one post where he said he "got gassed three times and was at the entrance when they breached the door."

"My Oath of Enlistment has the phrase 'both foreign and domestic.' We didn't think it would actually be domestic," Loftis wrote in a now-deleted Facebook post.

In a subsequent interview with WRAL in October, Loftis claimed his involvement was peaceful.

"I had absolutely zero involvement in the rioting and categorically condemn the storming of our Capitol building that day," he said.

State Rep. Grier Martin (D-Wake) said he was one of the originators of the planned protest and said there was "no way I was going to be in the room when that guy took an oath to join the House of Representatives," and added that "one's service to one's country when it was rendered is certainly worthy of respect, but when you betray your country, when you seek to undermine the democratic institutions that make it great, you're turning your back on America."

Loftis is a 30-year Army veteran and a Bronze Star recipient.

"It has been almost 11 months since violent rioters breached the halls of the United States Capitol in attempts to undermine our Democracy," North Carolina Democratic Party chairwoman Bobbie Richardson said in a statement. "Today marks a new low for General Assembly Republicans, because instead of condemning those actions and rejecting the rhetoric that incites violence, they are welcoming a Capitol insurrection participant with open arms."