During hearings held in the House Oversight Committee on Wednesday regarding the January 6 breach of the United States Capitol, several Republicans gave conflicting testimony over what happened that day — including one congressman who likened it to any other day that tourists came to see the building.
Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-Georgia) vastly downplayed the violence that occurred after hundreds of Trump loyalists breached barricades, broke windows, fought with officers and forced their way into the legislative chambers, disrupting the certification of the 2020 presidential election.
Clyde’s retelling of the events was so out of synch with what actually happened that he even contradicted himself at times within the same sentence. Noting that he and others “helped barricade the door until almost 3 pm from the mob who tried to enter,” Clyde also said, in the same breath, that “the House floor was never breached and it was not an insurrection.”
“This is the truth,” he added.
Clyde conceded that some who barged their way into the Capitol were an “undisciplined mob” and even described some as “rioters.”
“But let me be clear, there was no insurrection and to call it an insurrection in my opinion, is a bold-faced lie,” he added.
Clyde said that footage from television news crews that day backed up his assertions, showing that people behaved “in an orderly fashion.”
“If you didn’t know that TV footage was a video from January the 6th, you would actually think it was a normal tourist visit,” Clyde said.
But in reality, video of that day shows that violence was pervasive among the throngs of Trump loyalists. Indeed, a video posted to social media that has gone viral and showcases Clyde’s statement alongside actual footage from that day of the mob of Trump loyalists breaching the Capitol gives the lie to the Republican congressman’s words.
Rep. Andrew Clyde's (R-GA) comments today don't hold up well when played side-by-side with insurrection footage, so I made this.
the revisionist history being perpetuated by some Republicans to defend January 6th is disgusting pic.twitter.com/bWdXtU0b4F
— j.d. durkin (@jiveDurkey) May 12, 2021
More than 440 individuals have been charged for their actions inside the Capitol on January 6, when Congress had met to formally certify the results of the 2020 presidential election. Dozens of loyalists to former President Donald Trump demanded the counting of votes be stopped, wrongly alleging that the election had been stolen from him — a lie that was perpetrated and continues to be perpetrated by the former president himself. Some even called for the hanging of elected officials, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) and Trump’s own vice president, Mike Pence, who had vowed to carry out his constitutional duty to certify the election’s outcome.
At the end of it all, five individuals lost their lives as a result of the violence on that day.
Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Massachusetts) shared the video showing Clyde’s words next to the violence that occurred, and blasted his colleague for suggesting it was just a normal day at the Capitol.
“I was there that day, @Rep_Clyde. Presiding over the House Chamber,” McGovern wrote on Twitter. “While we were being evacuated I saw people punching the glass doors with bare fists to get in. Desecrating America’s Capitol to obstruct Congress. Calling it a ‘normal tourist visit’ is sickening. Shame on you.”
Clyde’s attempt to rewrite the history of that day follows what many on the right, including Trump himself, have tried to do — downplay the violence of his supporters, and suggest that it’s not worth looking into any further.
In a Fox News interview that aired in late March, Trump said his loyalists posed “zero threat” to lawmakers in the Capitol on January 6.
“Some of them went in, and they are hugging and kissing the police and the guards, you know, they had great relationships,” Trump added. “A lot of the people were waved in, and then they walked in and they walked out.”
In actual fact, the mob of loyalists remained in the Capitol for several hours, forcing the delay of the Electoral College certification. It wasn’t until the evening of that day after Trump, under pressure, told those who stormed the building that he “loved” them and that it was time for them to go home, that the mob left the building.