Rhode Island Democrat David Cicilline is asking colleagues to sign on to a resolution that would censure three House Republicans for trying to minimize the events surrounding the January 6 riot at the Capitol.
Censure is a very serious matter. Only expulsion from Congress would be a worse punishment. If Democrats are going to censure Republicans for downplaying what happened on 1/6, what should the punishment be for hysterically overexaggerating what happened at the riot?
Cicilline said the Republicans — Reps. Andrew Clyde (Ga.), Jody Hice (Ga.), and Paul Gosar (Ariz.) — claimed the riot was not an insurrection and engaged in other efforts to undermine the “damage that was done.”
“In doing so, they recklessly disregarded the future harm they could cause by legitimizing a violent attack on our democratic institutions — a conscious and harmful decision calling into question their dedication to their role as Representatives,” Cicilline wrote in a resolution.
In other words, the GOP House members do not agree with many of their Democratic colleagues that the Capitol riot was a threat to the existence of the United States government.
The resolution comes as a growing number of pro-Trump lawmakers are seeking to downplay the violence that unfolded on Jan. 6, when scores of people broke into the Capitol, prompting then-Vice President Mike Pence, congressional leaders, rank-and-file lawmakers, staff, and others to flee and take shelter in various parts of the Capitol complex.
Rioters aggressively confronted law enforcement officials on the House floor, who had their guns drawn. A handful of GOP lawmakers also stood at the ready, prepared for hand-to-hand combat. Rep. Troy Nehls (R-Texas), one of those members, told POLITICO in January that he saw a man carrying a flag on a long wooden pole that was sharpened on the end.
The Capitol riot was an extremely dangerous situation and that the lives of members were at risk. There was also an alleged element of conspiracy as some extremist groups actually planned to enter the Capitol. What they were going to do once inside is a matter of dispute, depending on which group of nutcases you want to believe.
If it was an “insurrection,” it was incompetently planned and amateurishly executed. Hitler’s Beer Hall Putsch was a model of efficiency compared to the conspirators’ actions on 1/6.
But what if there are members of Congress who knowingly and deliberately exaggerate what happened on 1/6? Or is there no over-exaggeration too ludicrous to punish? Perhaps we could start with members who want to introduce censure resolutions against Republicans simply because they don’t buy into the dominant narrative?
Maybe Cicilline should censure some of the Republicans for stupidity.
Clyde likened video footage of rioters storming the Capitol to “a normal tourist visit” during a hearing on the attack this week.
“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,” Clyde said, arguing it was “no insurrection.”
No, it didn’t look anything like a “normal tourist visit.” But neither did it look like an organized rebellion.
Recommended: The Capitol Riot Rorschach Test
The politics of 1/6 demand that Republicans look to minimize what happened while Democrats seek to exaggerate the danger. To pretend that anyone — Cicilline included — has a corner on truth and wisdom when it comes to characterizing the events of January 6 is silly.
And it’s even sillier to punish Republicans for exaggerating their narrative while Democrats are free and clear to exaggerate theirs.