Top Republicans move to protect Trump from Capitol attack fallout
Photo: Andrew Harnik / AP
Top Republicans in Congress embark on a new revisionist campaign seven months after the Capitol attack, relieve Donald Trump of responsibility and appoint House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for the Jan. 6 insurrection.
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Some House and Senate Republican leaders declared in the charged moments immediately following the attack that Trump was directly to blame, and amid the blood and broken glass in the U.S. Capitol, some even considered his removal.
"The president bears responsibility," House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy said of Trump at the time, demanding that he "take his share of the responsibility".
But after nearly 200 Republicans in the House of Representatives voted to release Trump in his unprecedented second impeachment and the Senate Republicans set up a September 11, 2001-style commission to investigate the events of Sept.
The move to protect Trump from the aftermath of the Capitol attack at all costs reflects the loyalty of party leaders to a defeated former president, as well as the political self-interest of Republicans desperately trying to distance themselves from an insurrection with which they agree Having fomented lies of a stolen election.
Republicans' journey into a universe of alternative facts was virtually completed last week after the Republican leadership of the House of Representatives once again shocked Congress about the deadly attack days after the harrowing testimony of police officers used to fight the rioters had spun.
"The American people deserve to know the truth: that Nancy Pelosi, as Speaker of the House of Representatives, is responsible for the January 6 tragedy," said Stefanik, falsely, from the steps of the Capitol.
Elise Stefanik on Capitol Hill. Photo: Joshua Roberts / Reuters
Pelosi is not responsible for security - a job that falls to the U.S. Capitol Police - but the unsubstantiated claim made by Stefanik amounted to the party leadership's recent disinformation campaign that they hope will provide them with political cover in the upcoming 2022 midterm elections will.
Deep fears remain among Republicans that any review by Jan 6 could expose their role in reinforcing Trump's lies about fraud in the 2020 election - the main culprit of the uprising - being used as a stick by the Democrats at the ballot box could.
Some Republicans in Congress privately acknowledge the deceptive logic of blaming Pelosi for the Capitol attack, but not Republican minority leader Mitch McConnell, their Senate counterpart at the time.
But as the tokens of ambition and self-preservation that guide Republican revisionism over the attack on the Capitol, they also suggest that they stand ready for McCarthy to yield to Trump's claims should it help Republicans capture the House of Representatives. And with Bennie Thompson, the chairman of the House Special Committee investigating the Capitol attack, he vows to summon anyone who spoke to Trump on Jan. 6.
The revisionism of the attack on the Capitol heralds a dangerous new era in American politics, according to some experts: Even with Trump from the White House, the Republicans are demonstrably promoting false narratives in order to ensure their political survival.
"The GOP thinks there has been enough time to somehow rewrite the history of events," said Fiona Hill, a senior official at the Brookings Institution and former top expert on Russia in the White House, who testified at Trump's first impeachment investigation.
"They hope it will make it onto the record, even if it is pointed out that it doesn't correlate with the facts, because once their version is in the media, that's enough to become the raw material for the design." how history tells things later, ”said Hill.
In the days following the attack, McCarthy joined the Democrats in condemning Trump and urging Congress to set up a commission of inquiry after calling the former president asking him to dismiss his rioters.
McCarthy even checked the former president for facts once. “Some say the riot was caused by the Antifa. There is absolutely no evidence of that, ”he said in the Chamber. "The Conservatives should be the first to say that."
But that initial determination was quickly replaced by a renewed allegiance to Trump, who demanded that Pelosi "examine himself" as he again falsely claimed that it was the Antifa and not his own supporters who carried out the attack on the Capitol .
Republicans have taken up this message, but none more than McCarthy, who repeated Trump's debunked claims and made trips to Mar-a-Lago to ingratiate himself with Trump, whose support he believes is essential to his ambitions to get spokesmen in 2022 become.
Such efforts to appease Trump gained momentum for McCarthy last week after, in a moment of frustration, drew all five of his House Electoral Committee elections and inadvertently left Trump without a defense attorney on the panel.
And when two US Capitol cops and two DC Metropolitan cops testified for hours before the special committee about how Trump, who has been described as a "killer," sent his supporters to attack the Capitol, an alarmed McCarthy moved to get the pressure off Trump on Pelosi. to relocate.
"If there is any responsibility for this Capitol on this side, it rests with the Speaker," McCarthy said.
Stefanik, who replaced Liz Cheney as Republican conference chairwoman after she was ousted in May for targeting Trump's behavior and rhetoric once too often, went further, saying that the House spokesman was indeed responsible for the uprising.
The House of Representatives' Republican leadership's political calculation last week first extended to McConnell - once harshly criticized Trump for his role in instigating the insurgency, but is now content to avoid the issue he regards as a political loser.
Hill told the Guardian that the revisionism of republican revisionism echoes the game book of Russian President Vladimir Putin and a host of other autocratic leaders who must clean up their roles in politically embarrassing events.
It is a fraud, a fraud that focuses only on keeping its own power
"You can see that over and over again in pretty much any authoritarian setting," Hill said. “It's not really about politics. It is nothing more than a massive scam, a scam invented to hold onto their own personal and collective power. There is no other ending.
It is a disinformation effort that has also been adopted by ordinary Republicans who have increasingly tried to recreate the reality of the events of the 6th Ordinary Tourist Visit ”.
A group of Trump's vocal defenders on Capitol Hill last week before the Justice Department condemned charges of nearly 600 Capitol rioters and accused prosecutors of holding them as political prisoners.
At Trump's urging, lawmakers mistakenly labeled Ashli Babbitt, an insurgent who was shot trying to breach a secure area of the Capitol adjacent to the House of Representatives, a patriotic martyr whose death was planned by the Democrats.
The fiction promoted by Stefanik was reprimanded by at least one Republican. "All Donald Trump has to see is you defend yourself, no matter how nonsensical that defense is," Congressman Adam Kinzinger said on ABC, but not before members of his own party demanded his expulsion.
In this article:
45th President of the United States
Speaker of the United States House of Representatives
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