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Republicans Continue to Deflect Blame


Apparently, most Republicans believe that their political futures benefit from ignoring or downplaying the January 6th Capitol insurrection. Most reasonably intelligent Americans are befuddled by this strategy.


Recently, though, the strategy has gone from confusing to nonsensical. As four police officers recounted the harrowing ordeals in heart-wrenching testimony before a House investigating committee, Republican leaders now blame the riot on their favorite scapegoat.


As the officers testified, some in tears and anguish, to being beaten, tased, and crushed by rioters, Republican Elise Stefanik (NY) was issuing a statement that Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi was “aware of potential security threats to the Capitol yet failed to act.”


Stefanik said that before January 6, Capitol Police had raised security concerns, but instead of providing the necessary support and resources, Pelosi put politics over safety. As a result, of her failed leadership, Stefanik would have you believe, these brave police officers were placed in a vulnerable position.


House Minority Leader, Kevin McCarthy made similar remarks. One Republican senator, Andrew Clyde of Georgia, dismissed the horrendous events altogether, likening them to “a normal tourist visit.” When Democratic Congressman Jaime Raskin of Maryland gave Clyde the opportunity to walk back the comments, he doubled down instead.

While this Republican, anti-American, anti-police, behavior is despicable, it is not surprising. And the abhorrent behavior will continue – anything to deflect the fact that former President Donald Trump organized and cheer-led the attacking mob. In fact, many of those facing criminal penalties for their actions that day claim they were acting at the direction of the president of the United States.


Surely these Republicans understand how security at the Capitol works. While Pelosi has considerable influence as Speaker, she is not responsible for the security of Congress. That is the job of the Capitol Police, and the Capitol Police Board makes the majority of security decisions. Furthermore, Pelosi shares control of the Capitol with the Senate majority leader, who at that time was Mitch McConnell (R-KY). Do these charlatans blame McConnell, too?


And, just when I think they can’t sink any lower . . . they, of course, sink lower.


McCarthy said Pelosi refused pleas by Capitol Police to call in the National Guard. Excuse me? McCarthy must know it is the commander in chief that directs the armed forces of the United States, not the Speaker of the House. The commander in chief of the armed forces at that time was a guy by the name of Trump.


So, why did Trump refuse to call in the Guard? Because he was enjoying the events unfold on television, as his supporters stormed the Capitol, carried his banners, wore his hats, damaged the people’s sacred building and precious artifacts, and shouted “stop the steal” and “hang Mike Pence.”


After the officers’ gripping testimony, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) stood up to her party imploring the committee to definitively determine what happened that day, and who was responsible.


"We must know what happened here at the Capitol," she said. "We must also know what happened every minute of that day in the White House — every phone call, every conversation, every meeting leading up to, during and after the attack. If those responsible are not held accountable, and if Congress does not act responsibly, this will remain a cancer on our Constitutional Republic, undermining the peaceful transfer of power at the heart of our democratic system."


Cheney called on the committee to enforce subpoenas "promptly" and said it must "overcome the many efforts we are already seeing to cover up and obscure the facts." Among those the panel might call, she previously said, are Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), McCarthy, and Trump.


The question that lawmakers must ask, she said, is this:

"Will we adhere to the rule of law, respect the rulings of our courts, and preserve the peaceful transition of power? Or will we be so blinded by partisanship that we throw away the miracle of America? Do we hate our political adversaries more than we love our country and revere our Constitution?"


In his statement, her fellow Republican, Adam Kinzinger (IL), said:


“A democracy is not defined by our bad days.” We’re defined by how we come back from bad, bad days. How we take accountability for that. And for all the overheated rhetoric surrounding this committee, our mission is very simple. It’s to find the truth and it’s to ensure accountability.”

Kinzinger continued:


“I’m frustrated that six months after a deadly insurrection breached the U.S. Capitol for several hours on live television, we still don’t know exactly what happened. Why? Because members of my party have treated this as just another partisan fight. It’s a disservice to the officers and their families, to staff and employees of the Capitol complex, to the American people who deserve the truth and to the generations who went to war before us to defend self-governance.”

“It’s time to stop the outrage and the conspiracies that fuel the violence and division in this country and, most importantly, we need to reject those that promote it.”

These comments were made by patriotic Republicans, who refuse to permit politics as usual to win the day. So, their Republican colleagues rallied around them, right? Wrong! True to their post 2016 behavior, they urged Leader McCarthy to banish Cheney and Kinzinger from the Republican conference, arguing that they’ve forfeited their GOP membership rights, including committee seats. Why? Because they had the backbone to speak out and defend our Constitution – the Constitution that each one of them swore to uphold and defend.


I applaud Cheney and Kinzinger’s brave stand. Will more Republicans do the same? I won’t hold my breath.

Mark M. Bello, a trial lawyer, is the author of “Betrayal in Black" and other ‘ripped from the headlines’ Zachary Blake Social Justice Legal Thrillers available on Amazon.com and other online booksellers. For more information, please visit www.markmbello.com. Mark also is co-host of the new podcast, Justice Counts, now streaming.


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