Capitol police testimony blunts GOP's law-and-order message
WASHINGTON (AP) - The Republican Party's self-portrayal as an advocate of law and order clashed on Tuesday with burning statements from police officers themselves. Officials vividly described the terror of violent Trump-inspired insurgents in the US Capitol on Jan. 6 To defend.
Will it play a role in next year's elections?
As we head towards midterms 2022, the GOP is seeking a political advantage out of Americans' concerns about rising crime across the country. But police testimony at the first hearing of the Congressional committee investigating the riot could undermine those efforts.
It highlighted the GOP's efforts to overcome the violence unleashed by a mob of supporters of then-President Donald Trump that put hundreds of officials at risk.
"They speak of people who claim they are pro-law enforcement, pro-police, pro-law and order," said Capitol Police Sgt. Aquilino Gonell, to hold people accountable, you don't, you surrender as if nothing had happened. "
The hearing brought a greater focus on how the debate about who is stronger or weaker in crime might develop in elections. Republicans eager to pounce on the Democrats may face the question of whether the GOP has done enough to stand up for law enforcement when put to the test.
Long-time GOP strategist Scott Jennings, who said it was hard to see officials' testimony and not feel “outraged” and “disgusted”, said he expected crime to be “massive” in upcoming midterm competitions Theme “will be. And while he expects Democrats to remain on the defensive, he said the Republican January 6 response gave Democrats a chance "to distract from some of their real shortcomings."
“The Republicans will certainly attack the Democrats because we would say they want to undermine the police. And the Democrats will surely parry these attacks with, 'Well, you weren't that police-friendly when it came to January 6th,' he said. "When you think about campaign messaging, it just gets less clean."
Republicans are struggling to find an effective answer to the testimony. The two GOP members of the panel, Reps. Adam Kinzinger, from Illinois, and Liz Cheney, from Wyoming, join because of opposition from their party's leaders. House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy retired from the panel after Spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi turned down two of his appointees, a decision that makes it harder for him to sway the narrative of the hearing.
Republican leaders ultimately work to avoid angering Trump, who continues to be popular with many GOP voters and is becoming increasingly confident in the party's primaries.
What does he have to say about the hearing?
In a statement, he said nothing about the behavior of his supporters in the Capitol and showed no sympathy for the officials who testified. Instead, he reiterated his broader allegations that the press ignored crime that "eats up our cities and our lands".
"America needs law and order, not the defunding of the police," said Trump. “We need our police back. America should and can be safe! "
The Republicans' anti-crime strategy, dating back decades to the Nixon era, won many congressional elections in 2020 after Trump and other candidates took up calls by some Democratic activists to "weaken the police" and invest in alternative measures than Part of major changes to combat systemic racism. The candidate, now President Joe Biden, particularly opposed these efforts, calling instead for reforms coupled with additional law enforcement resources.
Polls have found Americans give Biden lower marks for dealing with crime than other topics, though a new poll by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found voters are divided as to which party they trust to do a better job dealing with crime. About 32% said Republicans, 30% Democrats. About a third said they trusted neither or both equally.
The poll also found wide differences in the willingness of the parties to investigate the events surrounding January 6th. A whopping 81% of Democrats said it was "extremely" or "very" important that the investigation into the Capitol attack continue, compared to just 38% of Republicans. Only 9% of Democrats say it doesn't matter, 38% of Republicans.
With most voters having their say on what happened, Alex Conant, a Republican strategist, said he expected Tuesday's statement to still play a prominent role in next year's Democratic campaign ads.
“It is clear that the Democrats want to race against the pandemic, the economy and January 6th. Republicans want to run against immigration, inflation and crime, ”he said. “Voters will hear Republicans say the Democrats want to weaken the police, and the Democrats will refer to January 6th. And I think in some of these bigger races where swap voters matter, this is going to be an important debate. "
It's a tactic that the Democrats have already used, including in the White House, where press secretary Jen Psaki accused Republicans of hypocrisy on Monday.
"Many of the Republicans in Congress who are loudest in advocating for alleged support for police and law and order are the same ones who dismissed and downplayed the shameful events of that day," she said.
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