Alan Zendell, July 27, 2021
As the House Special Committee begins to receive testimony in its investigation of the January 6th insurrection at the Capitol, we are hearing gut-wrenching testimony from the police officers who were most directly involved in facing off against the White Supremacist MAGA mob. Not incidentally, they were also the officers who suffered the worst physical and emotional trauma from the event.
As we review the testimony of Capitol Police and DC Metropolitan Police officers, illustrated by videos from police body cams, Capitol security surveillance cameras, and videos taken by insurrectionists brazen enough to document what they were doing, we should first take a step back and review what some House members said about the attack. In May, some of Donald Trump’s most ardent supporters in the House Republican Caucus spoke out against what they called misrepresenting a few thousand tourists as an armed insurrectionist mob.
By now, every American has either seen hours of videos of what happened on January 6th or watched it live on TV while it was occurring. The mob had guns, knives, lead pipes, baseball bats, fire extinguishers – even flagpoles wrapped in American flags – all used as weapons to bludgeon and torture law enforcement officers who were protecting the very Republicans (as well as the entire Congress) who now dispute that what we all saw really happened.
Representative Andrew Clyde (R, GA) said the mob was just people moving “in an orderly fashion in between the stanchions and ropes taking pictures … you would actually think it was a normal tourist visit.” Is that what you saw? Representative Pat Fallon (R, TX), calling reports about the insurrection overblown, said, “Our friends in the mainstream media are quite fond of labeling January 6 as an insurrection or even a rebellion,” as if our own eyes weren’t witness enough.
Representatives Paul Gosar (R, AZ) and Jody Hice (R, GA) both addressed the single casualty among the rioters. A rioter named Ashli Babbitt who had wrapped herself in an American flag was shot by a Capitol police officer attempting to break into the House chamber, as many in the mob were chanting that the Representatives should be captured and killed. Gosar and Hice claimed that only Trump supporters lost their lives that day and wanted the police officer prosecuted. The Justice Department exonerated the officer. More to the point, four police officers died defending the Capitol against the mob, and many more were seriously injured.
The nation watched then President Trump egg the mob on and tell them to march on the Capitol. We also saw Trump’s lawyer, Rudi Guiliani, Senator Josh Hawley (R, MO) and Representative Mo Brooks (R, AL) encourage the crowd to violence if the Congress failed to reverse Joe Biden’s defeat of Trump in the 2020 election. It is clear to any objective viewer that the mob was there at Trump’s bequest, supporting his attempt to overturn the election, despite his claims of fraud having been rejected in more than sixty lawsuits, by mostly Conservative judges. It is also clear that Trump was willing to undermine the Constitution and threaten the existence of our republic to retain power, in the style of twentieth century fascists.
If anyone doubts that Trump cares more about himself than the good of the nation, consider that his sole pre-occupation since Biden’s inauguration has been to discredit the leadership of the Republican party and attempt to purge anyone disloyal to him personally from its ranks. As Representative Adam Kinzinger (R, IL) said during this morning’s hearings, Trump’s actions threaten our democracy, and trying to cover up the insurrection or repaint it as a peaceful protest is an insult to the American people.
Kinzinger and fellow Republican Liz Cheney (WY) have been ostracized by House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and called “Pelosi Republicans” because they support the Speaker’s attempt to get at the truth, all at the direction of Trump, whose only remaining weapon is the divisiveness he nurtured and fostered. He continues to work behind the scenes to scuttle all efforts at bipartisan governing in the Congress. Despite the overwhelming popularity of the COVID relief act that sustained millions of people who lost their income because of the pandemic, and the 83% popularity of the bipartisan infrastructure bill worked out by twenty Senators, (10 Democrats and 10 Republicans,) Trump calls every Republican who supports bipartisan government a traitor and a sellout to socialist radicals.
He has also quietly been the leading voice of the anti-vaccine movement which is now responsible for COVID caseload spikes in five states, all Republican-led with the lowest percentage of vaccinated citizens. For Trump, it still is and always will be all about him. So what if 500,000 of the 600,000 COVID deaths in our country are already on his hands? The CDC predicted today that we will soon see 200,000 new cases per day, but Trump couldn’t care less about those, either.