‘Absolutely Bogus’: Republicans Blast House GOPers Who Downplay Capitol Attack

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 06:  Protesters gather storm the Capitol and halt a joint session of the 117th Congress on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 06: Protesters storm the Capitol and halt a joint session of the 117th Congress on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
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May 16, 2021 3:46 p.m.

Some Republicans on Sunday took aim at House Republicans who continued to downplay the violence of the deadly Capitol insurrection during a House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing last week that happened the same day Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) was ousted as House GOP conference chair.

Several House Republicans repeatedly brushed off the severity of the violence behind the Capitol attack on the day of the joint session of Congress cementing Joe Biden’s electoral victory during a House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing last week.

Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-GA) likened the mob of Trump supporters that breached the Capitol on Jan. 6 to a “normal tourist visit” and denied that the attack was an insurrection.

Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) misleadingly characterized Ashli Babbitt, an insurrectionist shot and killed by a Capitol Police officer when she tried to jump through a window smashed by the mob outside of the House chamber, as a “veteran wrapped in an American flag” who was “executed.”

Rep. Jody Hice (R-GA) accused Democrats of “cherry-picking” former President Trump’s words at a “Stop the Steal” rally hours before the Capitol attacks, when the then-President urged his supporters to “fight like hell” to overturn the election results.

Some Republicans took to Sunday morning shows to criticize the lawmakers spreading disinformation about the deadly Capitol insurrection that Trump incited:

Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI)

Appearing on CNN, Upton called out the House Republicans who are spreading “bogus” claims about the Capitol insurrection, citing his personal experience of witnessing the violence on Jan. 6 firsthand from the balcony in his office.

“I saw firsthand what that was,” Upton said. “And it did not change my opinion from what I personally saw back on January 6.”

Asked why some Republicans continue to downplay the attack on the Capitol, Upton said he is unsure about their motivations, and emphasized that the Capitol attack was “terribly frightening” because lawmakers’ lives were endangered.

“I saw the gallows that were constructed on the East Front of the Capitol. I have talked — one of the police officers, Capitol Hill police officers, is from my hometown. I spent some time with him,” Upton said. “It was chilling, what happened, absolutely chilling. And that’s why I think that it’s important that we move forward with this bipartisan commission, get the facts out.”

Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL)

Asked during an interview on MSNBC’s “Meet the Press” about his view that it’s impossible to both appease Trump and somehow build the Republican Party, Kinzinger replied that the former president “set the table” for false claims of a stolen presidential election, which led to Republican members of Congress embracing the big lie.

“He’s the one that has convinced members of Congress, including what we saw a few days ago, to have a hearing on January 6 and claim that this was nothing but a tourist group, or that it was hugs and kisses,” Kinzinger said.

Kinzinger went on to slam House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), who falsely insisted that the Republican Party that his caucus is done peddling the former president’s election fraud falsehoods that led to Rep. Liz Cheney’s (R-WY) ouster as its conference chair, for giving Trump the GOP’s “leadership card.”

“You can’t say [Trump is] the leader and then say we have to move on,” Kinzinger said. “I would love to move on, but listen, when Liz Cheney, probably on a total of maybe four or five times, just simply answered questions that the election wasn’t stolen, and then Donald Trump, dozens and dozens of times says it is, it’s not Liz’s fault.”

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R)

During an interview on CNN, Hogan said that it was a “mistake” for House Republicans to vote Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) out as its conference chair for refusing to bend to the will of Trump’s bogus claims of a stolen election.

“Liz Cheney is a solid conservative Republican who voted with the president 93 percent of the time,” Hogan said. “I thought she just stood up and told the truth and said exactly what she thought. And to ostracize somebody, remove them from their leadership position, it’s crazy.”

Hogan argued that Cheney’s ouster as the No. 3 Republican is “kind of doubling down on failure.”

“We have lost the White House, the House and the Senate over the past four years. And to continue to do the exact same thing and expect a different result is the definition of insanity,” Hogan said.

After saying that he agrees with Cheney that Trump poses an ongoing threat to American democracy, Hogan went on to insist that the House Republicans who embrace the big lie don’t represent all of the views of all the people in the country.

“Look, we don’t want to alienate the entire Republican base, but we also have to tell them the truth,” Hogan said.

Asked about the House Republicans who distorted the facts about the Capitol insurrection during a hearing last week, Hogan blasted the lawmakers who are pushing “revisionist history.”

“And it’s crazy, in my opinion. I mean, everybody saw exactly what happened,” Hogan said. “And I was in the middle of that, as you say. We were getting desperate calls from the leaders of Congress, who were under attack. And the Capitol Police were overwhelmed. We sent into the Maryland State Police and the Maryland National Guard to try to put down the insurrection. And people to say that didn’t happen, it’s just — it’s just nuts.”

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