The head of the House Democratic Caucus hammered Republicans on Tuesday for blaming Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiRepublicans caught in California's recall trap Raise the debt limit while starting to fix the budget 'Justice for J6' organizer calls on demonstrators to respect law enforcement MORE (D-Calif.) for the violent assault on the Capitol on Jan. 6.
Rep. Hakeem JeffriesHakeem Sekou JeffriesFormer Bad Boy rapper turned politician meets with US lawmakers Watch live: House Democratic leaders hold press conference Congressional staff pay is still too low MORE (D-N.Y.) said it was "sick and cynical" for House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthyDemocrats lean into vaccine mandates ahead of midterms Far-right rally draws small crowd, large police presence at Capitol 'Justice for J6' rally puts GOP in awkward spot MORE (R-Calif.) to blame Democrats for an attack orchestrated by supporters of former President TrumpDonald TrumpKinzinger says Trump 'winning' because so many Republicans 'have remained silent' Our remote warfare counterterrorism strategy is more risk than reward Far-right rally draws small crowd, large police presence at Capitol MORE.
"We know that the person primarily responsible for the insurrection that occurred on Jan. 6 is the former, twice-impeached President of the United States Donald Trump, who incited that riot; urged people to march on the Capitol; [and] whipped them up by perpetrating the big lie — which by the way, he still hasn't walked away from," Jeffries told reporters in the Capitol.
The comments came shortly after McCarthy, joined by other GOP leaders and his Republican nominees for the select committee, had laid the blame for the Jan. 6 attack squarely on Pelosi. The Republicans said the Speaker had failed to ensure the Capitol was secure on Jan. 6.
"On Jan. 6 these brave officers were put into a vulnerable and impossible position because the leadership at the top failed," McCarthy said Tuesday morning, shortly before the select committee launched its first hearing.
Republicans want Pelosi to testify on what she knew about the security threat ahead of the attack, accusing her of orchestrating a "cover-up."
Pelosi has rejected those charges out of hand. Jeffries joined in her defense Tuesday.
"The notion that Speaker Pelosi is concerned about what a few crackpots might have endeavored to contribute to the seriousness of the inquiry because she's concerned about what it may reveal about herself is ludicrous, it makes no sense," Jeffries said.
"Those rioters, those protesters, were there in part to assassinate Nancy Pelosi," he added. "What does Kevin McCarthy not get about that?"