Several House Republicans on Wednesday tried to recast and downplay the events of Jan. 6, comparing the mob that breached the Capitol to tourists, railing against law enforcement for seeking to arrest them and questioning how anyone could be sure the rioters were supporters of President Donald Trump.
The Republicans’ distortions about the most violent attack on the Capitol since the War of 1812 defy the well-documented reality of what occurred that day — 140 police officers were injured, some bludgeoned with flagpoles and baseball bats, with one officer’s eye gouged out; rioters chanted “Hang Mike Pence” and erected a gallows on the Capitol grounds; and members of the House and the Senate were rushed to safety in secure locations for several hours. The attack resulted in five dead.
The comments by a handful of House Republicans came during a congressional hearing with former acting attorney general Jeffrey Rosen, former acting defense secretary Christopher C. Miller and D.C. Police Chief Robert J. Contee III, focused understanding the security lapses that allowed the Jan. 6 attack to happen.
A handful of Republicans used their time to defend the actions of those who stormed past security barricades and broke into the Capitol with the intent of stopping the affirmation of Joe Biden’s election victory. Trump repeatedly and falsely has claimed widespread fraud resulted in a rigged election.
Shortly before the hearing got underway, House Republicans voted to remove Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) from caucus leadership, after she broke with the party in repeatedly denouncing Trump for his false election claims.
Rep. Andrew S. Clyde (R-Ga.) downplayed the events of Jan. 6 as “acts of vandalism” and suggested it was a “boldfaced lie” to call what happened that day an “insurrection.”
“Watching the TV footage of those who entered the Capitol and walked through Statuary Hall showed people in an orderly fashion staying between the stanchions and ropes, taking videos, pictures,” Clyde said. “You know, if you didn’t know the TV footage was a video from January the 6th, you would actually think it was a normal tourist visit.”