On Thursday, writing for MSNBC, columnist Steve Benen tore into Republican lawmakers for their increasing denial that the violent January 6 invasion of the U.S. Capitol even happened the way everyone saw it.
"The setting was a House Oversight Committee hearing on the Jan. 6 riot, which some Republicans took as an opportunity to characterize rioters as victims," wrote Benen. "Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-Ga.), for example, rejected the idea that the insurrectionist violence constituted 'an insurrection,' adding that Trump's rabid mob behaved 'in an orderly fashion.' The Georgia Republican went on to say, '[I]f you didn't know that TV footage was a video from January the 6th, you would actually think it was a normal tourist visit.' Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) blasted the Justice Department for 'harassing' suspected rioters, whom he described as 'peaceful patriots.' Rep. Jody Hice (R-Ga.) added, 'It was Trump supporters who lost their lives that day, not Trump supporters who were taking the lives of others.'"
"It was every bit as surreal as it sounds," wrote Benen. "For these far-right Republicans, now is the time to write an entirely new alternate history about the events of Jan. 6, with the villains recast as the heroes. The facts make pro-Trump forces look like dangerous criminals, so Clyde, Gosar, and their cohorts have decided to pretend their fiction is real."
The denial comes after some of these lawmakers, like Gosar, actively participated in the "Stop the Steal" rally that fed the riot.
"Part of what makes this so extraordinary is the audacity. The world saw the riot on television. Trump's recent impeachment trial added additional documentary evidence that had not previously been released, and reinforced the severity of the assault on the United States," wrote Benen. "We've arrived at a point in which our political discourse is so toxic, GOP members of Congress are entirely comfortable telling Americans not to believe their lying eyes. These elected officials fully expect to get away with brazenly lying about events — not from generations past, but from four months ago — confident that their allies will simply believe what they're told to believe."
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