Republican U.S. Rep. Andrew Clyde recently compared the rioters at the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection to tourists.
“There was no insurrection, and to call it insurrection, in my opinion, is a bald-faced lie,” Clyde said. “If you didn’t know that TV footage was from Jan. 6, you would think it was a normal tourist visit.”
Yet his view of Jan. 6 obviously was different on that day as rioters rushed the Capitol and threatened members of Congress. Photos show Clyde barricading doors.
The trouble with Clyde’s account is it appears the congressman from Georgia is trying to slant history to fit a political narrative.
Perhaps Democrats are, too. In the original proposal to create a commission to investigate the happenings of Jan. 6, Democrats ridiculously proposed the panel include seven Democrats and four Republicans. Although that was revised to include equal representation, it’s difficult to imagine a more questionable beginning to what should solely be a fact-finding mission. Republicans have reason to be suspicious.
Yet a commission is needed, no matter who proposed it, who opposes it or who serves on it.
Thousands stormed the Capitol that day. Their obvious goal was to overturn the 2020 election, which saw Joe Biden defeat Donald Trump, who then and now says he won re-election, despite no credible evidence to back it. Numerous judges have ruled against the claims.
Wednesday, the U.S. House voted 252-175 to create a commission that would conduct a deep investigation into Jan. 6. It passed with great support from Democrats, while also getting 35 votes from Republicans. Republican Kelly Armstrong, of North Dakota, voted against it, as did the four Republican House members from Minnesota: Michelle Fischbach, Tom Emmer, Jim Hagedorn and Pete Stauber. South Dakota Republican Dusty Johnson voted yes.
Emmer, in a statement in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, said “adding another commission does nothing to help the American people move forward or bridge the current political divide in our country.”
Neither does brushing Jan. 6 under a rug. It appears Republicans don’t want to rehash the events of that day because the investigation certainly will review the party’s presidential loss, as well as determine if former President Donald Trump had some sort of role.
There’s no doubt there was a riot on Jan. 6, one the FBI considers an act of domestic terrorism. However, questions remain: Who participated, who organized it and who is to blame for the delayed efforts to repel the invasion? What warning signs were missed? How can future attacks on democracy be avoided?
Wednesday’s House vote set the commission on a path toward reality, but it’s a steep climb. Few, if any, Republican senators will vote for it.
Perhaps a loss in the Senate will open the possibility of a select House committee investigation, or an inquiry prompted by executive order. Neither is a good idea in a highly charged, highly partisan environment.
Could a standing Senate or House committee investigate Jan. 6? Would it carry the same weight?
What’s better is a bipartisan panel in the style of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks – the 9/11 Commission – that works to gather facts surrounding Jan. 6.
Americans need an accurate explanation of what happened. Without it, two versions exist, and that’s bad for democracy.
Importantly, do not let someone like Andrew Clyde, the aforementioned Georgia congressman with the short memory, revise history to suit his political beliefs.