Who is Barry Loudermilk and why did he give a tour of US Capitol to man accused of threatening lawmakers

Barry Loudermilk says police have already cleared him of any wrongdoing  (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)
Barry Loudermilk says police have already cleared him of any wrongdoing (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Republican, military veteran, supporter of Donald Trump and his false claim the 2020 election was rigged, and elected representative for Georgia’s 11th congressional district.

In addition to being all of those things, 63-year Barry Loudermilk is now also said to be a person who led a “not typical” tour of the US Capitol on Jan 5 2021.

Furthermore, it is alleged by the committee investigating the Jan 6 attacks, that some of the people who were among the tour group took part in the storming of the Capitol the following day, with one of them holding a flagpole that appeared to have a sharpened end, which he said was “for a certain person”.

One person – who has not been identified publicly yet and is said to have been part of the congressman’s tour – was recorded making threats to a number of Democratic politicians, among them Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, and congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

The allegations made of the Georgia Republican, first elected in 2014, were included in part of the latest public dump of data by the Jan 6 committee – formally the United States House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack – ahead of the next hearing, scheduled for Thursday.

Video footage – in colour, but without sound – appeared to show the congressman, wearing a facemark, leading the tour through the House office buildings. At one point, he stops to talk to some of the group, while a man can be seen taking a photograph of a stairwell.

“Individuals on the tour photographed and recorded areas of the complex not typically of interest to tourists,” the committee’s chairman, Democrat Bennie Thompson, wrote in the letter to Loudermilk. “The January 5, 2021 tour raises concerns about their activity and intent.”

Citing other security footage that the committee has obtained of Jan 6, when hundreds of supporters of Donald Trump stormed the Capitol in an effort to prevent the certification of the victory of Joe Biden after being urged by the then president to “fight like hell”, Thompson says: “The individual who appeared to photograph a staircase in the Longworth House Office Building filmed a companion with a flagpole appearing to have a sharpened end, who spoke to the camera saying – “It’s for a certain person’.”

He says as the individual filmed the march to the Capitol: “There’s no escape Pelosi, Schumer, Nadler. We’re coming for you.”

He added: “We’re coming to take you out and pull you out by your hairs…When I get done with you, you’re going to need a shine on top of that bald head.”

Loudermilk, who joined the Air Force after leaving school and left in 1992, has claimed the release of the video amounts to a pure political smear by Democrats.

Previously, he defended Trump’s false claim that the 2020 election was rigged, even in Georgia, where Loudermilk himself won reelection.

In an interview on Nov 23 2020, with conservative Glenn Beck, Loudermilk claimed: “There are people I know who have filed affidavits saying they have seen boxes of ballots that were fraudulent.

He also said he would not be voting to certify Biden’s win, in the joint session of Congress on Jan 6 that was abruptly and violently interrupted.

“After weeks of researching Georgia’s handling of the 2020 General Election, I have a reasonable and significant doubt that the electors selected to represent Georgia in the electoral college actually reflect the true will of the people of Georgia,” he said in a letter to constituents.

“Therefore, I will be objecting to Georgia’s electors when these votes are presented to the US House of Representatives on January 2021.”

On Saturday, after the committee said it wished to speak with the congressman, Trump announced he was backing him for his bid to be re-elected to the House in November.

“Congressman Barry Loudermilk is a fantastic Representative for the incredible people of Georgia’s 11th Congressional District,” Trump said.

“A US Air Force veteran, Barry is working hard to Support our Vets, Grow the Economy, Lower Gas Prices, Secure our Border, Defend the Second Amendment, and Shrink the Size and Scope of the Federal Government by holding it accountable for unacceptable performance.”

Loudermilk did not respond to inquiries from The Independent.

But his office has released a letter from the Capitol Police chief saying of its own review of the footage: “We do not consider any of the activities we observed as Suspicious.”

On Wednesday, Loudermilk, who is married and has three children, repeated that point in a statement.

This image taken from Capitol surveillance video shows Rep Barry Loudermilk leading a tour the day before the Capitol riot (Government photograph)
This image taken from Capitol surveillance video shows Rep Barry Loudermilk leading a tour the day before the Capitol riot (Government photograph)

“As Capitol Police confirmed, nothing about this visit with constituents was suspicious. The pictures show children holding bags from the House gift shop, which was open to visitors, and taking pictures of the Rayburn train,” he said on Twitter.

“This false narrative that the Committee and Democrats continue to push, that Republicans, including myself, led reconnaissance tours is verifiably false. No where that I went with the visitors in the House Office Buildings on January 5th were breached on January 6th”.

He added: “And, to my knowledge, no one in that group was criminally charged in relation to January 6th. Once again, the Committee released this letter to the press, and did not contact me.”

There was no immediate comment from the committee or its chairman, as to whether any of the people included in the video were later charged over the Jan 6 riot, or even entered the Capitol building.

The committee asked Loudermilk to appear before it.

“The foregoing information raises questions the Select Committee must answer. Public reporting and witness accounts indicate some individuals and groups engaged in efforts to gather information about the layout of the US Capitol, as well as the House and Senate office buildings, in advance of January 6, 2021,” wrote Thompson.

“For example, in the week following January 6 2021, Members urged law enforcement leaders to investigate sightings of “outside groups in the complex” on January 5 2021 that “appeared to be associated with the rally at the White House the following day.”

He added: “The Select Committee’s review of surveillance footage showing the above-described tour is consistent with those observations. We again ask you to meet with the Select Committee at your earliest convenience.”