Reno attorney and Republican gubernatorial hopeful Joey Gilbert, pictured here in a demonstration on the Las Vegas Strip (Photo screenshot from Gilbert campaign ad)
Joey Gilbert, the Reno attorney who wants to be the Republican choice for governor this year, says one of his opponents, Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo, refuses to talk about issues and is declining opportunities to debate, including one Thursday night in Reno. Lombardo has also turned down Gilbert’s invitation to debate later this month in Elko.
Gilbert, a former boxer, says unlike Lombardo, he won’t duck. He discussed a variety of topics in an extensive interview with the Current for an upcoming profile.
For now, let’s talk about Gilbert’s presence at the Jan. 6 insurrection last year in Washington, D.C.
“Oh, boy. I knew it,” the former boxer responds, seeming to momentarily let down his guard. “Let’s talk about it.”
Does he regret participating in the notorious rally turned insurrection exactly one year ago that has resulted in the arrests of more than 700 people, according to the Justice Department?
“Not a single regret, I was proud to be there as an American and a patriot, standing up for our country and for an election that I did not believe was done fairly,” he says.
Five people died, hundreds of law enforcement officers were injured — four later died by suicide — and congressional staff, lawmakers, police and journalists were traumatized. One woman was shot and killed by a Capitol Police officer when she tried to breach the House speaker’s lobby.
Despite the audits, the unsuccessful lawsuits, and no evidence of widespread voter fraud, he still doesn’t believe U.S. Pres. Joe Biden was legitimately elected.
“I absolutely do not,” he says.
He says he’s unaware of the text messages from Fox News host Sean Hannity unearthed in the Jan. 6 Congressional investigation, in which Hannity implores then-President Donald Trump’s inner circle to persuade Trump to abandon the Big Lie.
“He can’t mention the election again. Ever. I did not have a good call with him today,” Hannity wrote in one of the many texts. The House committee investigating the events of Jan. 6 has asked Hannity to cooperate with its investigation.
Gilbert faces a crowded Republican field with Lombardo, former U.S. Senator Dean Heller, Las Vegas Councilwoman Michele Fiore, North Las Vegas Mayor John Lee, and venture capitalist Guy Nohra joining the fray thus far.
Gilbert says he doesn’t pay much attention to news at the local or national level. But national interests are clearly paying attention to him. Half of the roughly $200,000 he reports raising in campaign contributions as of Oct. 15, 2021 is from donors outside Nevada.
“Why? Because people see the chance to turn the state red with people in this country and they basically want to save this nation for Texas and Florida and others,” he says. “People are done with these blue state governors and the havoc they’ve wreaked across the nation. So people have an investment now into making sure we can turn some states red.”
He says it was “perfectly acceptable” for Trump to phone election officials to “find out what was going on.” He says Trump was letting officials know he needed “a fair shake out there. That’s how I read it.”
Gilbert, who has filed a number of lawsuits challenging Gov. Steve Sisolak’s COVID mandates, notes he was in the nation’s capital on Jan. 6 not for the Stop the Steal rally, but for a conference and a speaking engagement “against medical tyranny, against the lockdowns, against the distance learning, against early treatment medications that were being banned…”
He says a video on the web in which he appears to call out to conspiracy theorist Alex Jones is really him calling Jones’ colleague, who Gilbert says has a similar name.
“Alex Jones, to his credit, actually was on his megaphone saying, ‘Keep it peaceful. Do not be violent,” Gilbert says. “We sang the Star Spangled Banner. We did the Pledge. There was old women there. There was children there. There was seniors, juniors, everyone of every age, and then I left.”
“When we were leaving the Capitol, I was over giving a speech on a stage. They cut my Facebook feed and I started hearing flashbangs go off and started seeing riot police show up… everybody’s cell phones are getting jammed. But I was long, long gone before anything bad started to happen. I still have no idea what happened.”
Gilbert says he supports the prosecution of individuals who engaged in violence at the Capitol, but he says the shooting death of Ashli Babbitt at the hands of Capitol police was “absolutely not” justified. “There was no reason to use deadly force.”
“I condemn any violence, of course, I mean, anybody that was committing any violence, that’s insane,” he says.
He, like other Trump supporters, compares those who trespassed at the Capitol to the protesters at now-Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s Senate confirmation hearings — “screaming through the doors and breaking into those hearings and the insanity that took place…”
“I think that it is scary that a year later, these guys are still being held in inhumane conditions in a D.C. jail without seeing a judge, having bail set, and being even formally charged yet,” he says. “It’s insane. It’s like Communist China.”
Reports of political prisoners held inhumanely over trespass charges have been found “Mostly False” by Politifact.
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