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OPINION | COLUMNIST: The GOP's Jan. 6 scam isn't fooling many of us

by The Fresno Bee | August 7, 2021 at 3:19 a.m.

On Feb. 15, barely a month after Americans witnessed broadcasts of the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol in which demonstrators busted their way into the halls of Congress, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) figured out who was to blame: Nancy Pelosi.

The San Francisco Democrat is one of Nunes' favorite targets, and this would prove no different. The Republican joined three other GOP colleagues in sending a letter to Pelosi, the House speaker, and railing that she was largely responsible for security breakdowns that allowed the rioters to get into the Capitol.

Fast forward to last week: House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield, Calif., did not place responsibility for the breaching of the Capitol on former President Donald Trump and his incendiary words at a rally before the rioting. Nor did McCarthy even fault the rioters.

As reported in The New York Times, McCarthy said this: "If there is a responsibility for this Capitol, on this side, it rests with the speaker."

Both Nunes and McCarthy are clearly wrong, and their attempts to deflect blame reflect a pathetic push by GOP members in Congress to revise the narrative of what happened on Jan. 6.

Some of those efforts at disinformation have been so clumsy that they are laughable.

On Jan. 6, Republican Rep. Andrew Clyde of Georgia helped to barricade a door into the House gallery as rioters were rushing toward the chamber. But in May he downplayed what had occurred, likening it to a "normal tourist visit."

The attempts of Nunes and McCarthy to deflect responsibility from where it belongs--Trump's desperate attempts to thwart Congress' certification of the Electoral College results of the November presidential election--are a bit more sophisticated, but no less worse.

If a congressional representative cannot agree on the straight-up truth of what happened that fateful day, the question then is whether that person remains qualified to serve.

It is good to remember what happened on Jan. 6: Hordes of insurrectionists broke into the Capitol and sent lawmakers rushing for their lives.

The resulting riot left one police officer and four others dead, 140 officers injured, and members of Congress holed up for hours in secure locations. Four of the Capitol police officers testified before a congressional panel recently about the horrific beatings, taunts and other distress they endured as they held the demonstrators back from the House and Senate.

More than 500 people have been charged for participating in the rioting.

Normal tourist visit? Pelosi's fault?

If Nunes was serious about trying to ensure security for the Capitol so an insurrection never again threatens representatives and senators, he would work with Pelosi on a bipartisan basis toward that end.

And if McCarthy really cared about what happened on Jan. 6, he would have worked with the House speaker in good faith to create a special bipartisan, independent commission to investigate the insurrection.

Print Headline: The GOP's Jan. 6 scam


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