Pelosi leads moment of silence for Jan. 6 with no Republicans except Cheneys
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) led a moment of silence on the House floor on Thursday to mark one year since the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol, with more than a dozen fellow Democrats and just one House Republican, Rep. Liz Cheney (Wyo.), on hand.
The scene exemplified the attempts by most Republicans to avoid any reckoning with former President Trump’s falsehoods about the 2020 election that led the violent mob of his supporters to storm the Capitol and interrupt lawmakers’ certification of the Electoral College count.
Pelosi saluted the congressional staff who were in the Capitol that day — particularly those who whisked the boxes containing the certified electoral votes away from the mob — as well as the police officers who faced danger while defending the building.
“That day and the days after, they were the defenders of our democracy. And their courage and patriotism remain an inspiration,” Pelosi said while presiding over a brief House pro forma session.
Pelosi reflected on how lawmakers were determined to finish certifying the election results hours after law enforcement cleared the mob from the Capitol and that ultimately, “the insurrection failed.”
But a year later, with Trump still falsely claiming that the election was stolen and many Republicans refusing to contradict him, the nation is far from unified after the violence of Jan. 6.
“Today, we accept responsibility as daunting and demanding as any previous generations of leadership have faced,” Pelosi said. “As we reflect on that darkest day, we remember that the insurrection sought not only to attack the building, but to undermine democracy itself.”
Cheney acknowledged on Thursday that the lack of other Republicans on hand in the Capitol for the one-year anniversary of the Jan. 6 attack is “a reflection of where our party is” and “very concerning.”
“The future of the country is at stake and there are moments when we all have to come together in order to defend the Constitution,” Cheney told reporters.
Cheney was accompanied on Thursday by her father, former Vice President Dick Cheney.
“It’s not a leadership that resembles any of the folks I knew when I was here for 10 years — dramatically,” the former vice president said of the current GOP leadership.
Since the Capitol insurrection a year ago, House Republicans booted Liz Cheney as their conference chair for repeatedly pushing back against Trump’s falsehoods about the election.
Cheney later accepted an invitation from Pelosi to serve on the select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack, as did Rep. Adam Kinzinger (Ill.), another Republican who has vocally criticized his party’s continued embrace of Trump.
Pelosi had rejected some of the Republicans nominated to serve on the panel by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), namely Reps. Jim Jordan (Ohio) and Jim Banks (Ind.), for their propagation of Trump’s false claims about the election.
Republicans were largely absent from Capitol Hill on Thursday since neither chamber is in session and few wanted to actively seek out events to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the Jan. 6 attack. Many Senate Republicans were in Georgia on Thursday to attend the funeral of the late Sen. Johnny Isakson (R).
Across the Capitol, the Senate also held a moment of silence at midday. And like in the House, only Democrats made a point of delivering floor speeches to reflect on a year passing since the attack on the Capitol.
“We the people endured. We the people prevailed. And we devote this moment of silence to those who stood up, not only for this building, not only for the people that worked here, but for our very democracy itself,” Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), the Senate Rules and Administration Committee chairwoman, said before the chamber’s moment of silence.
Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) dedicated the moment of silence to “all of those who have helped us then and help us now, the staffs and everybody else.”