Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-GA) presented amendments earlier this evening that he submitted to the House Rules Committee on pending FY 2022 appropriations bills, including the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, H.R. 4505. (This particular appropriations bill was the only reason I was watching since I’m working on an amendment to it.) One of the Rules Committee members, Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD), didn’t focus on Clyde’s amendment as much as he honed in on Clyde’s comments in May in which he said the attack on the Capitol to “a normal tourist visit.”
The reason the events of January 6 are relevant is due to the fact that, earlier today, the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol, on which Raskin also serves, heard testimony from police officers who encountered the mob of insurrectionists earlier this year. The police officers were emotional as they described the physical and verbal attacks of the mob on January 6.
In the interest of fairness, in May, Clyde said, “There was an undisciplined mob. There were some rioters and some who committed acts of vandalism. But let me be clear. There was no insurrection and to call it an insurrection, in my opinion, is a bald-faced lie. 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 and 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.”
Needless to say, the comment was ridiculous and has served as a rhetorical point for Democrats, and it’s entirely fair game. Downplaying the events of January 6 has become routine for Republicans, particularly those in the House. They’ve now even gone as far as to blame Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) for the events of January 6.
Raskin asked Clyde if he watched the hearing. Clyde clearly didn’t want to answer, calling Raskin’s question “irrelevant.” Raskin asked Clyde if he stood by his statement. Clyde felt that it was taken out of context but stood by his full statement. Raskin also asked why Clyde voted against a bill, H.R. 3325, giving four Congressional Gold Medals to the Capitol Police related to their service on January 6. Clyde’s response was that he cosponsored a bill, H.R. 3901, that was a historical recognition of the Capitol Police. That seems like a weak cop-out, but whatever.
Raskin was too aggressive with Clyde, but Clyde’s comments back in May are deserving of derision. We need to bring down the temperature in national politics. Unfortunately, that’s not going to happen until there’s a sea change that doesn’t seem possible right now. It’s only going to get worse as we head into 2022. But mark my words, if Republicans fail to win a majority in the House in the midterms, it will be because of comments like those made by Clyde in May. Republicans have the advantage because of redistricting; however, nothing is a certainty, and Democrats aren’t going to let gettable voters forget what happened on January 6.
The full exchange is in the video below, beginning around the 5:09:00 mark.