Their leader doesn't support the Proud Boys' joining the Jan. 6 riot at the US Capitol. But "condemn" is too strong a word, Enrique Tarrio said. Either way, he expressed no empathy toward the members of Congress who were under attack. "I'm not gonna cry about people who don't give a crap about their constituents," he told CNN. "I'm not going to sympathize with them." He does feel for his members. They didn't plan the attack, Tarrio said, and were just caught up in the excitement of protesting the results of the presidential election. Now, he said, they're being made scapegoats by federal authorities who have charged more than a dozen of them. "They need a head to roll. They need heads on pikes," Tarrio said. "The FBI and the DOJ [are] using the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers as their go-to, to show the people that they did something."
Tarrio wasn't in town that day, adhering to a court order to stay out in connection with his arrest two days earlier on weapons charges and burning a church's Black Lives Matter banner. He admitted his guilt on both counts to CNN. Had he been there, Tarrio said he might have joined the riot—though he also said, "I don't believe the election was stolen," per Newsweek. Tarrio did call on his members to attend the Stop the Steal rally just before the attack. The next day, he posted a photo of House members hiding from rioters with what he said is a Thomas Jefferson quote—but apparently isn't—equating liberty with government fearing its people. Five deaths have been attributed to the riot. The lawmakers' only worry is reelection, Tarrio said. "When they support drone-bombing children in the Middle East ... [and] those people are dead and they're just cowering because a group of misfits came into the Capitol, I'm not going to be sympathetic." (Read more Proud Boys stories.)