Absence, silence, pugnacity: How Republicans marked anniversary of Jan. 6 siege on U.S. Capitol

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NEW YORK (AP) — Just a year ago, many Republicans joined Democrats in a scathing reaction to the Capitol uprising, condemning the violence perpetrated by rioters and the role played by former President Donald Trump, the outrage that fueled their actions. played a role in provoking Lies about a “stolen” election.

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But on the anniversary of the attack, top Republicans were far more silent. Some acknowledged the horror of the day, but quickly turned to the Democrats’ bashing.

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From the archives (January 2021): Kevin McCarthy becomes poster boy for Republicans who recently criticized Trump

Many avoided the planned observance at the Capitol. And yet the others said nothing.

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This is all part of the political calculation in a party in which the former president is heavily in charge.

,‘I think it’s going to vomit quite clearly.’,


—Ron DeSantis, Republican Governor of Florida, in celebration of the January 6th anniversary

From the archives (July 2021): Trump and allies work to rebrand the January 6 rioters as patriots, heroes and martyrs

missing in action

Top Congress leaders of the party were missing from Thursday’s commemoration events at the Capitol. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy made no appearance or issued a statement. Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell, who most strongly condemned Trump after the attack, was in Atlanta for the funeral of former Sen. Johnny Isaacson.

Isaacson died about three weeks ago after a prolonged illness.

From the Archives (December 2019): Republican infighting erupts as Georgia’s governor appears to disagree with Trump over who to elect Isaacson’s open Senate seat

In fact, during a moment of silence held in honor of law-enforcement officials, only two Republicans were present in the House chamber: Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming, who has become a pariah in her party over her criticism of Trump’s actions, and His father, former Vice President Dick Cheney.

In a statement, McConnell called January 6 “a dark day for Congress and our country”, adding that “the seat of the first branch of our federal government was attacked by criminals who brutalized police officers and forced Congress to do the same.” Used force to stop him from working.”

But he also criticized Democrats for what he said was politicizing the attack. “It is surprising to see that some Washington Democrats are taking advantage of this anniversary to try to advance partisan policy goals that were in place long before this event,” he said.

It was a notable change from his comments last year after the Senate voted against Trump’s impeachment.

“There is no question – none – that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for instigating the day’s events. There is no question about it,” McConnell said then, calling it “a shameful, shameful dereliction of duty.” ” said.

Mitch McConnell says US Capitol was ‘attacked’ by criminals on January 6, 2021

Biden says January 6 attack should never happen again and blasts Trump for ‘trap of lies’

From the archives (May 2021): Liz Cheney says ‘no question’ January 6 riots could happen again

then vs now

Like McConnell, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, a friend and ally of the former president, was outspoken in his condemnation of Trump shortly after the January 6 attack. “All I can say is count me. Enough is enough,” she said then.

On Thursday, however, Graham, who remains close to Trump, marked the occasion with a mix of shock and partisan attacks. “I still can’t believe that a mob was able to capture the United States Capitol during such a critical moment – ​​testifying to the presidential election. It’s time for terrorists to gear up on this protest and wreak even more havoc on the US Capitol. Would have been so easy,” he wrote.

He then turned to politics, painting the speeches of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris at the Capitol as “more of an attempt to revive a failed presidency than to mark the anniversary of a dark day in American history.”

“His brazen attempts to support radical election reform on January 6 and change Senate rules to meet this goal will not succeed,” he wrote.

From the archives (May 2021): Rep Liz Cheney takes a dig at GOP leaders: ‘I won’t sit back and keep quiet’

From the archives (October 2021): 2 House Republican Steve Scalis Refuses To Say On Fox News The 2020 Presidential Election Wasn’t Stolen

politics first

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, considered a potential 2024 presidential candidate, was also quick to pounce. Speaking to reporters in Florida on Thursday morning, at the same time as Biden was addressing the nation, DeSantis slammed Democrats and the media for making the event so much more.

“It’s his Christmas, January 6th,” he said. “They’re going to take it and milk it for anything that might ever try to be able to smear anyone who supports Donald Trump.”

He lashed out at those who compared the severity of the terrorist attacks from January 6 to September 11, 2001, saying that most Florida residents have other issues on their minds.

From the archives (July 2021): ‘I’m going to die like this,’ Capitol police officer remembers thinking in the midst of January 6 uprising

From the archives (January 2021): QAnon supporters are losing faith in ‘plan’ with Biden’s inauguration, Trump in Florida and no ‘hurricane’ physical

Using military slang for the chaotic situation, he said, “I think it’s just going to be a politically-political Charlie Foxtrot today.” “I think it’s going to be quite frankly vomiting.”

No comments

Other potential 2024 candidates, meanwhile, have remained apparently silent, underscoring the complex calculus they face in a party in which Trump remains heavily in charge, with widespread support from primary-voting voters.

Former Vice President Mike Pence – who ran for his life on January 6 as rioters broke into the Capitol, chanted “Hang Mike Pence!” – did not make or issue any statement on this occasion.

Pence has said that he and the former president would never “look eye-to-eye” on the events of January 6 and defended his role that day in rejecting Trump’s demands that he reverse the election results – something like which they did not have the power to do.

At the same time, he has accused the media of “disappointing” Trump’s supporters at the attack and “diverting attention from the failed agenda of the Biden administration,” as he said on Fox News in October.

Also not saying was former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who is laying the foundation for a possible 2024 campaign by highlighting the successes of the Trump administration, and Nikki Haley, former ambassador to the United Nations, who found herself on the wrong side of the party’s base. . When he criticized Trump shortly after the rebellion. She has since said that she will not run for the GOP nomination if Trump chooses to move forward with the comeback campaign he has been teasing.

McCarthy, the Republican leader in the House, who reportedly clashed with Trump a year ago during a phone conversation in which he called on the then-president to call his followers to back down, made no known public statement on the anniversary. not issued. A former employee told CNN that McCarthy was reticent even on the day of the Capital attack, neither guiding nor supporting his employees.

From the archives (July 2021): What an Indiana Congressman’s visits to Bedminster, NJ and the border with Mexico say about the future path of the Republican Party

counterprogramming

While Trump canceled the anniversary news conference he was planning in Florida for Thursday, many of his ardent followers determined their own counterprogramming.

“We’re not ashamed of anything,” GOP Representative Matt Gaetz of Florida said during an appearance with Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green, on a podcast hosted by former Trump strategist Steve Bannon, who has been charged with defying a subpoena from a House committee investigating the rebellion. “We are proud of the work we did on January 6th to make a valid argument about the integrity of the election.”

Green on Wednesday slammed Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, another potential 2024 contender, to mark the anniversary of what marked “a violent terrorist attack on the capital.”

,‘I am…

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