On January 6, 2021, New York Republican Representative Chris Jacobs joined 146 other members of the GOP in voting not to certify the results of the 2020 presidential election. This choice came after a violent mob of White nationalist lead Trump supporters stormed the Capitol.
The riot that ensued resulted in at least five deaths, over 100 injuries to law enforcement, and millions of dollars in damages. At the time, Jacobs and his fellow Republicans faced widespread criticism for supporting the goals of the insurrectionists who attacked the Capitol just hours earlier.
But Jacobs is no longer in lockstep with former Republican President Donald Trump.
Jacobs told The Buffalo News in reference to Trump:
"I just think his judgment from Election Day to January 6 was—I just think he lost his mind."
"I really do. I just do."
"Even if it was fraud and I'm not saying it was, should you try to burn the whole place down?"
"And I think the answer is definitively no."
While Jacobs still had praise for Trump's presidency, he noted "a lot of that was undone" by Trump's efforts to stay in office after losing both the popular vote and the electoral vote to Democrat Joe Biden.
Regarding a Trump 2024 presidential campaign, Jacobs said:
"I think it would be best for the party if we embrace the new generation of leadership."
"I just think we have a great bench of up-and-coming leaders, and I think that it would just be best if we did that."
"I did say after January 6 that I would have supported—I was open to a censure because I don't think that Trump handled himself appropriately, so yes, I think that absolutely, that is part of the reason I think it's time to move forward [in 2024]."
Jacobs was one of the few Republicans who supported an investigation into the Capitol riot.
People largely concurred with Jacobs' assessment of Trump, but differed on the timeline.
Jacobs—who represents western New York including suburban Buffalo—broke with GOP leadership and voiced support for a federal assault weapons ban and other gun control measures.
Jacobs said, according to Spectrum News 1:
"I want to be completely transparent of where I am in Congress. If an assault weapons ban bill came to the floor that would ban something like an AR-15, I would vote for it."
The Buffalo area Congressman added he supported limiting magazine capacity and raising the age limit to purchase semi-automatic weapons to 21. Jacobs also said he would write a bill banning body armor for civilians.
His decision came after a White nationalist domestic terrorist drove over three hours to murder Black people at a grocery store in Buffalo, New York on May 14, 2022. Jacobs' announcement was met with anger from conservatives.
The White nationalist gunman—inspired by the Tucker Carlson, Laura Ingraham and Fox News peddled Great Replacement conspiracy theory—wore body armor and livestreamed his attack on 13 people, killing 10. Most of the victims were elderly shoppers and 11 of his 13 victims were Black.
Days after supporting efforts to end gun violence in direct opposition to his party's unwavering support of gun manufacturers and their lobbying by the NRA, Jacobs announced he would rather retire than spark an "incredibly divisive election."
"The last thing we need is an incredibly negative, half-truth-filled media attack funded by millions of dollars of special interest money coming into our community around this issue of guns and gun violence and gun control."
Other Republicans who didn't follow the party line were either primaried by their party—with ultra-conservative, often theocratic and conspiracy theory spewing candidates—or also chose to retire.