House

House GOP blames Pelosi — not Trump — for Jan. 6

House GOP leaders teed off on Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) Tuesday morning, accusing her of neglecting her duty to defend the Capitol on Jan. 6 and demanding answers about her role in the violent attack that injured more than 140 police officers.

“On Jan. 6 these brave officers were put into a vulnerable and impossible position because the leadership at the top failed,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) told reporters just outside the Capitol.

The accusations served as a prebuttal to the House select committee’s investigation into the attack, which was set to kick off shortly after the Republican press conference without any allies of former President Trump on the panel.

Yet in a sign of just how partisan the debate surrounding the insurrection has become, the Republicans offered no critique of the former president, who had encouraged his supporters to march on the Capitol on Jan. 6 to block the certification of his election defeat — the spark that inspired the deadly riot.

They also did not answer reporters’ questions about why Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who was Senate majority leader on Jan. 6, should not bear the same responsibility they say Pelosi does for the security lapses.

Instead, they accused Pelosi of first failing to approve the activation of the National Guard that day and now seeking to avoid tough questions by refusing to seat two Trump allies — Reps. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Jim Banks (R-Ind.) — on the select committee.

“Why don’t they want to answer the fundamental question, which is why wasn’t there a better security posture on that day?” Jordan asked.

Pelosi’s office quickly issued a statement pushing back against the charges. The statement noted that congressional leaders do not oversee the everyday decisions surrounding Capitol security — a responsibility of the Capitol Police Board — while asserting that the Speaker never denied a request to active the National Guard.

“Now that the bipartisan Select Committee is beginning its work, the only tools left in House Republicans’ arsenal are deflection, distortion, and disinformation,” her office said.

That hasn’t prevented Republicans from bashing Democrats for a riot orchestrated by Trump supporters. And Pelosi was not the only target of the GOP attacks Tuesday morning.

McCarthy and the Republicans also went after Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), chairwoman of the House Administration Committee, which has jurisdiction over the workings of the Capitol complex, for staying away from Washington for much of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

They blasted Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), the chairman of the select committee, for suggesting that Pelosi would not be required to testify before the panel. And they hammered Reps. Liz Cheney (Wyo.) and Adam Kinzinger (Ill.) — the two Republican Trump critics appointed by Pelosi to the select committee — characterizing them as “Pelosi Republicans” who no longer speak for the GOP.

“This committee is completely partisan from top to bottom,” said Rep. Troy Nehls (R-Texas), a former sheriff who was among McCarthy’s initial picks for the select committee.

Tags Adam Kinzinger Bennie Thompson Capitol riot Donald Trump Electoral College Jan. 6 Committee Jim Jordan Kevin McCarthy Liz Cheney Mitch McConnell Nancy Pelosi U.S. Capitol Police Zoe Lofgren
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