Pelosi says GOP downplaying Capitol riot ‘sick’ and ‘beyond denial’

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Thursday condemned remarks from Republicans who severely downplayed the violence at the Jan. 6 insurrection, arguing that the comments were “beyond denial” and “fell into a range of sick.” 

Pelosi was referencing statements made by some GOP members of the House Oversight and Reform Committee during a Wednesday hearing, including Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-Ga.), who said that calling the Jan. 6 mob attack an insurrection was a “boldfaced lie.” 

“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,” Clyde said. “You know, if you didn’t know the TV footage was a video from Jan. 6, you’d think it was a normal tourist visit.”

Pelosi on Thursday expressed her disdain for the remarks, noting that multiple people died amid the violence at the Capitol and more than 100 officers who responded to the rioting suffered injuries. 

“I don’t know any normal day around here when people are threatening to hang the vice president of the United States or shoot the Speaker … or disrupt and injure so many police officers,” Pelosi said, referring to threats some rioters directed on Jan. 6 toward former Vice President Mike Pence and herself for not backing former President Trump’s efforts to overturn 2020 election results

“I don’t consider that normal,” the Speaker added. 

“You have to see it because it was beyond denial, it fell into the range of sick,” Pelosi said of the hearing, adding that Republicans downplaying the severity of the mob attack could detrimentally impact efforts to increase security funding measures at the Capitol building. 

Pelosi said that a Jan. 6 commission to investigate the deadly attack will allow lawmakers to “find the truth” of the events leading up to and during the riot. 

Thus far, federal authorities have charged more than 400 people with crimes related to the Jan. 6 attack, in which pro-Trump rioters stormed the Capitol as members of the House and Senate met to certify President Biden’s Electoral College win. 

Other Republicans during Wednesday’s hearing gave similar remarks downplaying the actions of rioters on Jan. 6, with Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) saying that Ashli Babbitt, who was shot and killed by a Capitol Police officer as she tried to jump through a smashed window outside the House chamber, was a “veteran wrapped in an American flag” who was “executed.”

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) on Thursday ahead of Pelosi’s press conference brushed away questions about the comments from his fellow Republican lawmakers.

When asked about Clyde’s comment on the footage showing a “normal tourist visit” at the Capitol, McCarthy told reporters, “With all due respect, I was right here with Congressman Clyde laying a wreath for a fallen officer outside of his district,” referring to the “Back the Blue Bike Tour” at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington as part of National Police Week. 

When asked to comment on Republicans downplaying the severity of the Jan. 6 mob attack, McCarthy said, “What happened on the 6th was atrocious.” 

“When I look at the rioters that came in, those people should be held accountable to the rule of law, and that’s exactly what’s happening,” he added.

Tags capitol building Capitol riot Capitol riot charges Donald Trump House House Oversight and Reform Committee Jan. 6 commission Joe Biden Kevin McCarthy Mike Pence Nancy Pelosi Paul Gosar Pelosi press conference
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