While speaking Thursday about the mob of Trump supporters who sacked the Capitol, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) drew a comparison between the security failures on Jan. 6 and the Capitol Police response to people who protested Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation vote.
After saying that responsibility for Capitol security lapses lay with Democrats — rather than, you know, the guy that told his supporters to march on Congress — McCarthy unleashed a false equivalency for the ages.
“Yes, it does rest with them,” McCarthy said, referring to Democrats. “Jan. 6 should not have happened. Those Capitol Police officers should not have had to go through what they did. This line was broken in the Kavanaugh debates, but no change was taken since then.”
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) July 29, 2021
You may remember the Kavanaugh protesters: They defecated in the halls of Congress, used bear spray, crutches and tasers on police, called for the death of Nancy Pelosi and Mike Pence, sought to catch up with members of Congress as they fled the building, and used radios to communicate with each other and coordinate their attack in an attempt to undermine American democracy and install the outgoing president for a second term.
Ah, wait, sorry: That was the Capitol attack. They’re just so similar!
A spokesperson for McCarthy, Matt Sparks, told TPM that McCarthy was saying “that after the line was broken then there were no changes were made to protocol from the Cap Police Board and SAA,” referring to the House Sergeant at Arms.
“The line,” another McCarthy spokesperson, Mark Bednar, said, referred to the police line. He noted that the Capitol Police inspector general has said that the law enforcement body failed to act on past findings of intelligence failures.
But invoking the Kavanaugh protests as some sort of precedent for the Capitol riots is an impressive feat of historical revisionism.
During those demonstrations, which took place over several weeks in 2018, protesters objected to Kavanaugh’s confirmation despite allegations of sexual assault against him. Perhaps the most heated those protests got were when two women, Ana Maria Archila and Maria Gallagher, confronted then-Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) about their own sexual assaults and moved him to support an investigation into Kavanaugh’s past.
Some individuals disrupted hearings on Kavanaugh’s confirmation by shouting words of protest. Separately, demonstrators gathered on the steps of the Capitol and the Supreme Court. Others occupied a Senate office building and were arrested. Compare those protests to just one of the thousands of videos showing the Jan. 6 attack:
More Jan. 6 "meat grinder" footage, released in connection with the case against Robert Morss: pic.twitter.com/NOuAa6kpLK
— Ryan J. Reilly (@ryanjreilly) July 27, 2021