A far right Republican candidate for Congress from Wisconsin, who was present at the Trump-inspired attack upon the United States Capitol building, tried to board an airplane with a loaded gun in the carry-on baggage.
According to reporting from The Milwaukee Journal-SentinelTransportation Security Administration (TSA), agents stopped Derrick Van Orden after finding a loaded 9mm Sig Sauer pistol in his possession. He was passing through security at Cedar Rapids Airport, Iowa.
The incident took place in August, but it received very little attention at the time. Following a similar incident involving Rep. Madison Cawthorn of North CarolinaVan Orden’s story received renewed attention late last month.
Van Orden was subject to two fines for indiscretion. according to a spokesperson for the candidate running in Wisconsin’s open Third Congressional District this year, was “purely accidental.” He ended up paying an unspecified fine to the TSA as well as being fined separately in a magistrate court in Iowa in the amount of $360. Van Orden was also required to complete a firearms safety class, which he had already completed earlier in the year.
— The Wisconsin Idea (@thanewisc) May 9, 2022
Besides bringing luggage into airport security that contained a loaded weapon, Van Orden and Cawthorn have also both been criticized for their actions on January 6, 2021 — the day a mob of loyalists to former President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol in order to thwart the certification of the 2020 presidential election.
Cawthorn, who stirred up the mob in a speech at the White HouseBefore the attack on Congress, was one of dozens of Republicans in Congress who voted against certifying now-President Joe Biden’s victory over Trump. Van Orden, however, was part the mob that rushed Capitol building, though he continues not to deny that he engaged in violence that day.
Van Orden has not been charged with any crime relating to that day’s events, according to Department of Justice records.
Days later, Van Orden condemned the violenceHe said that he didn’t know what was happening at the moment. Van Orden also suggested that his presence in Washington D.C. that day was innocuous, writing in an op-ed that he was there for “meetings and to stand for the integrity of our electoral system.”
However, those claims fell apart after Van Orden’s social-media posts (which were since deleted) revealed. he was indeed at the Capitol building complex with the mob. These posts showed Van Orden was at a portion of the complex that was closed off to the public. could only be accessed by someone who had crossed a police barricade.
According to reporting from The Daily Beast, Van Orden used campaign funds to pay for his trip to the nation’s capital that week.
There is no evidence he tried to enter. However, Van Orden’s original account of his day on January 6, 2021 is clearly incomplete, according to his critics.
“Derrick Van Orden was not only part of a deadly attack on our Democracy by being on Capitol grounds while the riot erupted — he’s also lied to Wisconsinites and covered up his participation in the insurrection,” a spokesperson for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spokesperson said at the time of those revelations.
Van Orden was involved at the Capitol. Last year, Van Orden made headlines after he confronted a teen librarian worker over a LGBTQ book display at Prairie du Chien Memorial Library. According to the worker he harangued, who was a minor at the time, the Republican candidate for Congress used “threatening” language, was “full-on shouting” at times during his tirade and demanded to know who set up the display so that he could “teach them a lesson.”
The library pageThat evening, she told her parents that she didn’t feel safe working in the library since Van Orden confronted.
“I was terrified that he would be outside, that there were be a collection of people outside waiting for me, waiting for anyone else,” she told The Associated Press.