Just a Normal Day on Capitol Hill

Yeah, sure.

On May 12 Rep. Andrew S. Clyde (R-Ga.) downplayed the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol, comparing the mob’s breaching of the building to a “normal tourist visit:”

“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 and pictures…. 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.”

Rep. Andrew S. Clyde et. al. May 12 Congressional Hearing

This is the same member of Congress who, back on January 6, as writer Bryan Smith noted, was in full blown panic mode as the “people in an orderly fashion” attempted to break through the barred doors to the House of Representatives and do who knows what to the members within.

That mob was after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the chamber’s ranking Democrat. And Republican Mike Pence, President of the Senate and Vice-President of the United States. At 2:24 p.m. on January 6 Trump tweeted: “Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution….” The mob responded by chanting, “Hang Mike Pence.” Either Pelosi or Pence, or both, could have been killed that day.

Clyde’s ridiculous characterization of the mob is just the latest in a series of statements by Republican Trump supporters attempting to downplay the events of January 6, 2021, when the United States came within a heartbeat of losing whatever sense of a democratic government it still has.

Have you forgotten? Watch this report by Washington correspondent Robert Moore of Britain’s ITV….

ITV News Report from Washington, D.C. January 6, 2021

Mr. Moore’s closing words send a chill through me, “America’s long journey as a stable democracy appears to be in genuine doubt.”

On January 6 it appeared that at least a few of the Republicans in Congress had the same fear. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said that night, “This failed insurrection only underscores how crucial the task before us is for our republic. Our nation was founded precisely so that the free choice of the American people is what shapes our self-government and determines the destiny of our nation – not fear, not force, but the peaceful expression of the popular will.” Let us remember that by this date, more than 60 legal challenges to the election balloting two months earlier had been heard and not a single one found evidence sufficient to change a single result.

Today McConnell opposes the creation of a commission to study the events of that day, calling it “the House Democrats’ slanted and unbalanced proposal.” McConnell ignores the fact that the proposed commission is designed to mimic the design of the bipartisan commission set up to investigate the 9-11 attacks of 2001. McConnell had previously promised to support a commission that followed the 9-11 model.

McConnell’s about face, or perhaps two-face, falsely accuses House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of “bad faith.” McConnell ignores the fact that the plan was agreed to by Republican John Katko of New York, who had been working under instructions from House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy. McCarthy’s word is no better than McConnell’s. He threw Katko under the bus after Katko had gotten everything McCarthy had asked for, including equal representation on the commission for Republicans who, as the minority party, would normally have fewer members. Katko had also gotten Pelosi to agree to requiring both ranking commission members to agree before subpoenas could be issued. And, since the Republicans are afraid the inssurenction will still be in the news during the 2022 midterm elections, they got Democrats to agree that the commission would issue its report by the end of this 2021.

Still, the deal is suddenly unacceptable. What’s going on here is that 175 Republicans voted against the commission in the House. And Republican leaders are afraid the party’s base of voters, the ones who believe the Big Lie that Trump won an election he lost, will stay at home in 2022. So now they oppose what they claim will be a “political” effort to condemn members of what now must be called the Trump-GOP.

Of course when it came to the demonization of Hillary Clinton we had a dozen investigations into Benghazi and a handful more looking for the damn email server which was “sent to Ukraine.” These repeated investigations cost taxpayers millions of dollars and failed to turn up one bit of actionable evidence that any kind of crime was committed. But what the Trump-GOP now fears is exactly the opposite. That is, that a fair, bipartisan investigation into the January 6 insurrection will discover significant complicity by Trump and Republican supporters to stage the riot which cost lives and did damage to the very idea of American as a land ruled by law. That is the last thing they want to see. So they live in their own little world, where the Democrats staged the revolt, or where the revolt did not occur at all.

Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) said on ABC’s “The View” that such efforts by Clyde and his fellow Republicans were like “something you see out of North Korea, where it’s like, ‘We’re just going to state whatever we want the reality to be.’ ”

And America’s long journey as a stable democracy remains in genuine doubt.

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