This is what irresponsibility looks like, where dishonesty thrives and “loyalty” trumps rationality.
This isn’t a close call. This isn’t, well, you know, it might have been this, or maybe that. No. The January 6 attack on the Capitol building by fervent Trump supporters and armed extreme right insurrectionists is not opinion. It’s fact.
Many of those who didn’t see it on television lived it.
Metropolitan police officer Michael Fanone was one of those who lived it along with countless other law enforcement officers who responded to the insurrection at the Capitol building on the day when Senators and Representatives were assembled to certify the results of the 2020 election.
Like many others, Fanone was seriously injured in the attack, but if you ask him, he might say that those injuries pale in comparison to what he has endured from listening to the lies from many of the Republicans on Capitol Hill that he helped defend on January 6.
Despite publicly calling Trump the ignition switch of the attack, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s truth detector has swung 180 degrees from fact to shamelessness as he joins a reprehensible chorus of Republican colleagues who continue to downplay and dismiss the most unprecedented attack in the last 200 years of the Republic.
Rep. Andrew S. Clyde (R-Ga.): “Watching the TV footage of those who entered the Capitol and walked through Statuary Hall showed people in an orderly fashion staying between the stanchions and ropes, taking videos, pictures. You know, if you didn’t know the TV footage was a video from January the 6th, you would actually think it was a normal tourist visit.”
“Rep. Paul A. Gosar (R-Ariz.) accused the Justice Department of ‘harassing peaceful patriots across the country.’”
This is what passes for Republican leadership in Washington.
But not all Republicans view the attack through Trump-colored lenses.
Speaking to ABC journalist, Jonathan Karl, Wyoming Republican Liz Cheney said that the attack on the Capitol by Trump loyalists was “indefensible. The notion that this was somehow a tourist event is disgraceful and despicable. I won’t be part of whitewashing what happened on Jan. 6. Nobody should be a part of it and people ought to be held accountable.”
During the attack, Cheney described that “(Democratic Rep.) Jamie Raskin was sitting on the other side of the aisle, and you could hear the mob coming, and he looked at me and showed me his phone and said, ‘Liz, there’s a Confederate flag flying in the Rotunda,’ she said. “And that moment of, you know, this cannot be happening in the United States of America. I think everybody understood after that,” Cheney said, “that it could not be happening, and that it could not happen again, and that people had to be held accountable.”
Officer Michael Fanone was one of many who saw and felt, firsthand, the truth of what happened that day and he wanted to meet with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to make a point.
When Fanone “finally got his session with Mr. McCarthy at the Capitol,” The New York Times writes (June 25), “he had a clear request at the ready: for the minority leader to publicly denounce the lies Republican lawmakers have been telling about the deadly attack. He wanted Mr. McCarthy to push them to stop downplaying the storming of the building, blaming left-wing extremists for an assault carried out by former President Donald J. Trump’s right-wing supporters and spreading the baseless conspiracy theory that the F.B.I. secretly planned it.”
But the truth is not at the top of the priority list for many Republicans — at least publicly — their jobs are. And that’s the most despicable part of Republicans’ resistance to appointing a 9/11 style panel to examine the events that took place on January 6.
This is where we are as a country, a Twilight Zone where right has been pushed out the window with considerable help from those in leadership positions entrusted with doing the right thing for the country.
“‘[McCarthy] said he would address it at a personal level, with some of those members,’ Officer Fanone told reporters after the roughly hour long meeting. ‘I think that as the leader of the House Republican Party, it’s important to hear those denouncements publicly.’”
With the riot underway, McCarthy phoned President Trump pleading with him to call off attackers only to reverse course, fly down to Mar-a-Lago and plead with Trump to take him back as a supporter.
McCarthy and a whole list of far-wrong Republicans know what the truth is. They just choose their jobs over that truth. And they’re gambling that next year they will garner both the Senate and the House majorities.
Officer Fanone put his life on the line to protect many of the same representatives and senators who have now become virtual January 6 deniers.
That was officer Fanone’s job and that is his truth, and this is where we are today.