SALT LAKE CITY ( KUTV) — A man photographed hanging from a balcony above the U.S. Senate Wednesday, in a widely distributed photo from Getty Images, is from Idaho and has been identified by several sources as Josiah Colt.
Colt documented his actions Wednesday on his own social channels and has since begged his home state to forgive him and deleted his online accounts. Crowds gathered in Washington D.C. in support of President Donald Trump and protesting the presidential election won by Democrat Joe Biden.
EastIdahoNews linked to several of Colt's social media and business accounts that have since been deleted. His Linkedin profile reportedly showed a job history in digital marketing and advertising and said he served a two-year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It also said he volunteered for the Boys and Girls Clubs of America as "a positive role model and example for the troubled youth."
Those claims have not been verified by 2News.
A woman who claimed on Twitter she dated him in high school, said they last spoke in approximately 2008 and posted a picture of them together as teens and a picture of him at the protests this week.
"January 6th, 2021 was the date I learned my high school boyfriend grew up and became a terrorist," Brittany Page wrote. "He was not this unhinged in high school, so I can speak to what happened to him."
Colt can also be identified after the riot talking about his experience in a YouTube video.
"I just got in the Capitol building," he said while talking to the camera. "I was the first one that hopped down into the chamber and I was the first one to sit in Nancy Pelosi — that b***** — she is a traitor, she is treasonous," he says on a video apparently captured from his social media by Tyson Quick on YouTube.
In a later segment in the same video, he says he isn't sure what to do next. "I am all over the news now. I am just like every single one of those people that was marching, a peaceful protest, came here to represent America. We are tired of being lied to ... Yeah, I did sit in Nancy Pelosi's seat. She shouldn't be there."
Colt was mistaken. He was photographed in Vice President Mike Pence's chair in the Senate chambers. Pelosi is the House Speaker. Another man who was in Pelosi's office chair has been arrested in Arkansas.
"I love America, I love the people, I didn’t hurt anyone and I didn’t cause any damage in the Chamber. I got caught up in the moment and when I saw the door to to the Chamber open, I walked in, hopped down, and sat on the chair. I said my peace then I helped a gentlemen get to safety that was injured then left.
"While in the Chamber I told the other protesters that this is a sacred place and not to not do any damage. Some of them wanted to trash the place and steal stuff but I told them not to and to leave everything in it’s place. We’re still on sacred ground.
"And sincerely apologize to the American people. I recognize my actions that have brought shame upon myself, my family, my friends, and my beautiful country. In the moment I thought I was doing the right thing. I realize now that my actions were in appropriate and I beg for forgiveness from America and my home state of Idaho.
"My intention wasn’t to put a stain on our great Country’s Democratic process."
He told CBS2 that he is speaking with a lawyer. Colt was photographed directly in front of one of the Senate mottos "annuit cptis," that means "God has favored our undertakings," according to the U.S. Capitol website.
A columnist for Religionnews.com, Jana Riess, also a member of the Church, wrote that the event showed both the best and worst of what church members can do.
"The domestic terrorist who dangled from the Senate balcony and occupied Mike Pence's seat is a returned missionary of the LDS Church, to our shame. But Mitt Romney, also a Mormon, showed some of the best qualities our religion is capable of," she wrote.
Speaking of Colt's apology she wrote:
He should have also mentioned that his actions have brought shame upon his church, which will inevitably be criticized for its connection to him. Colt’s apology feels like he offered it because he is now afraid he is going to wind up in jail, which he absolutely should, and not because he means it.
Riess also wrote in the same column that another apparent member of the Church was present in Washington D.C. for the riots, this one dressed as a prophet from The Book of Mormon, sacred scripture to believers. Apparent Church members were critical of the man on Twitter.
"Also pictured in the crowd of Trumpublicans was a man carrying a 'standard of liberty' flag, a reference to the character of Captain Moroni from the Book of Mormon," Riess wrote. " 'In memory of our God, our religion, and freedom, and our peace, our wives, and our children,' the flag read."
Sen. Mike Lee compared Trump to the same Book of Mormon figure at an Arizona rally for the president in October.
"To my Mormon friends, my Latter-day Saint friends, think of him (Trump) as Captain Moroni," Lee said.
Riess was critical of Lee and had generous praise for Romney.
"In the past year, trying to do his job as a U.S. Senator in the chaos of the Trump administration, Mitt Romney has continued to be vocal in his criticisms—even to the point of being the only Republican Senator to vote to remove Trump from office in 2020 after he was impeached by the House of Representatives.
"In explaining his decision, Romney pointed to old-fashioned values like honesty and integrity. Values he had learned as a lifelong member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He said he had taken an oath before God to exercise impartial justice, and that he had a duty to honor that oath."