On Thursday night, during the January 6 select committee’s first primetime hearing on the Republican-led attack on the U.S. Capitol building, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York) took to social media to call out Republican lawmakers for attempting to downplay the violence of the attempted coup.
As the committee played video after video of the attack, showcasing not only the harrowing evidence of the brutality of the Donald Trump militants who breached the Capitol but also the violent intentions of Republican leaders like Trump himself, Republicans downplayed the attack online. “All. Old. News,” the Twitter account for House Judiciary Republicans wrote.
Ocasio-Cortez shot back, saying: “Oh, so if it’s old news surely you wouldn’t mind reminding us which of your members sought pardons after the attack … So who were they?”
“Was it [Rep. Andrew] Clyde? [Rep. Paul] Gosar? [Rep. Matt] Gaetz? [Rep. Jim] Jordan? [Rep. Lauren] Boebert? [Rep. Majorie Taylor] Greene? Others?” she said. “Please remind us, [House Republicans,] which of your current sitting members sought pardons after the attack? In addition to [Rep. Scott Perry] of course.”
On Thursday night, vice chairwoman of the January 6 committee Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyoming) revealed that Perry was one of the Republican representatives who contacted the White House in the weeks after the attack in order to seek a presidential pardon from Trump for his role in the rally that led up to the breach of the Capitol building. Perry, a Republican from Pennsylvania, has denied the allegation.
However, the revelation has prompted renewed scrutiny of what Republican lawmakers did to aid the attempted coup, as the fact that Perry and several other unnamed GOP members had sought pardons suggests that they were afraid they’d be convicted for their roles in the future.
Ohio Republican Jim Jordan, who reportedly spoke to Trump on the phone as militants were storming the Capitol, also downplayed the violence, saying, “When’s the primetime hearing on record crime in Democrat-run cities?”
“According to CBS News, out of the Top 10 deadliest cities in America, seven of them are in Republican-run states,” Ocasio-Cortez replied. “Now, follow-up question: were you one of the members who sought a pardon after Jan 6th? I didn’t.”
Ocasio-Cortez also reminded followers that, after she shared her close-call experience with the attackers, major conservative figures like Boebert, Fox News’s Tucker Carlson and Rep. Nancy Mace (R-South Carolina) mocked her fear during the attack.
Look at this footage. @laurenboebert was tweeting the Speaker’s location as this was all happening.
When I spoke of my fear of being raped again while locked in my office bathroom, @TuckerCarlson mocked it. So did Boebert. @NancyMace insinuated to her supporters it was a lie. pic.twitter.com/I151oTFGP1
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) June 10, 2022
“There was (and continues to be) a widespread GOP campaign to downplay the scale of this attack,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote in an Instagram story on Thursday as she showed a portion of the attack’s footage. “Does this look like a small localized attack to you? They were EVERYWHERE. The screams were everywhere. If you were anywhere within this area, would you have been scared?”
The scope of the violence was one of the revelations that was unveiled by the committee on Thursday; testimony from White House officials has confirmed that Trump wanted to stoke this violence and keep it going. As the mob chanted “hang Mike Pence,” Trump said that the supporters “perhaps have the right idea,” and that Pence “deserves it,” Cheney said of the witness testimony.
Later in the night, the committee revealed that a member of the far right militia Proud Boys said that membership of the group tripled after Trump remarked in a presidential debate months before the attack that the group should “stand back and stand by.” The Proud Boys played a key role in the attempted coup, acting as part of the armed muscle that mobbed the Capitol that day.