Republican attempts to recast the deadly Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol are drawing criticism from others within the party.
Rep. Fred Upton of Michigan called it “absolutely bogus.”
“I don’t know what their motivation is but I know that, as I talked to some colleagues even again this week who were in the chamber, it was terribly frightening and they knew that by stopping some of the folks from getting inside the House chamber — it probably saved their lives,” he told CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday.
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan called it “revisionist history” and said for people to say it didn’t happen is “just nuts.”
“It’s crazy in my opinion,” he told CNN. “I mean everybody saw exactly what happened.”
During a Wednesday hearing in the U.S. House of Representatives, several GOP lawmakers downplayed the events of the attack, during which a mob of supporters of former President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol as Congress was certifying the results of the 2020 presidential election.
They scaled walls, smashed windows and forced lawmakers to evacuate and delay the certification. The siege left several people dead and many injured.
Rep. Andrew Clyde, a Georgia Republican, said during the hearing the attack was “not an insurrection” and compared it to a “normal tourist visit.”
“There was an undisciplined mob,” he said. “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 bold face lie.”
Rep. Jody Hice, a Georgia Republican, characterized those involved in the riot as the victims, saying that Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick — who died after collapsing following the riot — didn’t die as a result of the rioters’ actions.
“In fact, it was Trump supporters who lost their lives that day, not Trump supporters who were taking the lives of others,” he said.
Video showed rioters spraying Sicknick with a chemical, The Associated Press reports, but a medical examiner said he suffered a stroke and died of natural causes.
Other lawmakers made similar comments about those involved in the attack.
Rep. Ralph Norman, a Republican from South Carolina, questioned whether the rioters were supporters of Trump.
“I don’t know who did a poll that it’s Trump supporters,” he said. “You had the media saying the same thing.”
Photos from the Capitol attack show many rioters waving Trump flags, and one man could be heard on a livestream saying “our president wants us here,” The New York Times reported.
Additionally, many lawmakers from both parties, at least in part, pinned the attack on Trump’s rhetoric. He repeatedly made false claims that the 2020 presidential election was fraudulent and stolen from him and, at a rally shortly before the attack, told his supporters to “be strong” and march on Capitol Hill.
Rep. Paul Gosar, a Republican from Arizona, said “outright propaganda and lies” are being used to “unleash the national security state against law abiding U.S. citizens” during the investigation into those involved in the attack.
“The FBI is fishing through homes of veterans and citizens with no criminal records and restricting the liberties of individuals that have never been accused of a crime,” Gosar said.
But Rep. Adam Kinzinger, one of the 10 Republicans who voted to impeach Trump, told “The View” that hearing his colleagues speak felt like “something you see out of North Korea.”
“I was there on Jan. 6,” he said. “This was a real insurrection. This was an insurrection of people that thought they were doing Trump’s bidding at the behest of Trump — not just on that day but on days leading up to that with the narrative of a stolen election.”
Rep. Liz Cheney, who also voted to impeach Trump and who last week was ousted from her House leadership role, called the comments during the hearing “indefensible.”
“The notion that this was somehow a tourist event is disgraceful and despicable,” she told ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday. “I won’t be part of whitewashing what happened on Jan. 6. Nobody should be part of it and people ought to be held accountable.”