Senate

Rubio calls Jan. 6 attack a ‘violent riot’

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) referred to the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol as a “violent riot” a day after his party’s leader called the episode a “violent insurrection.”

Rubio, in an interview with NewsNation this week, suggested he disagrees with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) characterization of the Jan. 6 attack, saying “riot” is a more accurate descriptor for the event than “insurrection.” 

“There was no way they were going to overthrow the government,” Rubio said of the hundreds of people that descended on the Capitol, some breaching the building and assaulting police officers as lawmakers, aides and journalists cowered inside. “It’s just not. It wasn’t going to happen. They were able to delay by a few hours, the vote count but there was absolutely no way did we ever come close in any way shape or form to those people leading to the overthrow of the government of the United States of America.” 

Rubio added that it is “important” for people to “characterize this as it was.” 

“It was a riot. It was a dangerous riot. It was a violent one. It should have never happened and it should never happen again,” he said. “But I also do not think people should be misled to think this somehow was on the verge of overthrowing the government or preventing the certification [of the election].” 

The Florida Republican’s comments come a day after McConnell, who has blamed former President Trump for the attack, blasted the Republican National Committee (RNC) for censuring two House Republicans leading an effort to pin the events on Jan. 6 on Trump and his associates. 

“It was a violent insurrection with the purpose of trying to prevent a peaceful transfer of power after a legitimately certified election. … That’s what it was,” McConnell said on Tuesday. “This issue is whether or not the RNC should be sort of singling out members of our party who may have different views from the majority. That’s not the job of the RNC.” 

The Hill reported this week that some members of the Senate GOP were surprised McConnell used the word “insurrection” in his remarks. 

However, the minority leader has used the word before, calling it a “failed insurrection” the night of the attack. 

Tags Capitol breach cheney and kinzinger censure Donald Trump Marco Rubio Mitch McConnell United States Capitol attack

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