BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Republican candidate for Erie County Executive Chrissy Casilio defended her controversial social media posts in Tuesday night’s debate by saying all she was doing was “asking questions.”
Her since-deleted posts included conspiracies about the 2020 election and Damar Hamlin’s cardiac arrest.
During the exchange, Casilio said she believes “there was not an insurrection” at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, though she called the events “horrid.”
Casilio’s campaign told News 4 after the debate that Casilio misspoke in saying there wasn’t an insurrection. Her statement can be seen at 2:11 in the video above.
More than 1,100 people have been charged with Capitol riot-related federal crimes. More than 800 have pleaded guilty or been convicted and over 700 have been sentenced, according to the Department of Justice. The leader of right-wing extremist group Proud Boys was recently sentenced to 22 years in prison for his role in the attacks. He is one of 14 people charged with seditious conspiracy, among other charges.
In one particular post from June 10, 2022 that contemplated false allegations of voter fraud, she wrote “the insurrection was not on January 6th,” implying that it occurred the previous November during the election.
“There was not an insurrection on January 6,” Casilio said during Tuesday’s debate at News 4. She then disputed her previous tweet, saying, “There was not an insurrection with the election.”
“I think it was horrible what happened and I think those that did destruction at the Capitol should be prosecuted,” she said.
Incumbent Mark Poloncarz questioned Casilio’s “fitness to serve” in response.
“She did question whether there was an insurrection on January 6, which we know there was an insurrection on January 6, it was an attempt to overthrow our democracy,” he said.
Casilio defended one of her tweets in question by saying it was posted before Jan. 6.
“How can I know what would happen on January 6 in November? Unless my opponent thinks I have some kind of psychic ability,” she said. “On January 6 I was home, six months pregnant, with two small children. He is taking a comment about a completely separate event in November and somehow trying to give me psychic powers thinking I have comments on January 6.”
She defended the rest of her tweets shortly after.
“Understand that the worst thing that I did with these tweets is ask questions,” she said. “There is nothing wrong with asking questions.”
The Erie County Democratic Committee launched a website, chrissytweets.com, showing some of Casilio’s since-deleted tweets.
Aidan Joly joined the News 4 staff in 2022. He is a graduate of Canisius College. You can see more of his work here.