Saturday's rally in support of Jan. 6 Capitol rioters has put GOP lawmakers in an "awkward" position — because a significant portion of the party's base believes the insurrection was "justified" and is calling for "civil war," according to a new report from Politico.
Facing this "uncomfortable reality," GOP lawmakers have done their best to change the subject or ignore questions about the "Justice for J6" rally organized by a former Trump campaign aide — which law-enforcement officials fear could become violent.
Even Republicans who've called Capitol rioters "political prisoners" — such as Reps. Matt Gaetz of Florida, Paul Gosar of Arizona, and Louie Gohmert of Texas — have not said whether they plan to attend the Justice for J6 rally.
However, one GOP lawmaker who spoke on the condition of anonymity acknowledged that the rally has created a "conundrum" for the party's leaders in Congress.
"The majority of the Republican base feels that Jan. 6 was justified. And because those people didn't have arms, they shouldn't be incarcerated right now," said the lawmaker, who reportedly is from a safe red district.
"Every day, I hear the word 'Civil War' — every day," the lawmaker told Politico, adding when he returned to his district after Jan. 6, he "expected sympathy and disgust about the attack on Congress and instead heard constituents commenting in support."
According to Politico, "Other Capitol Hill offices reported similar calls from constituents who insisted the rioters did not go far enough in the weeks after the attack, which included more than 1,000 violent acts against law enforcement and is tied to multiple deaths of rallygoers as well as police officers."
While Democratic leaders say the Capitol is more prepared for Saturday's rally than it was prior to Jan. 6, "Monday's announcement of the arrest of a man found with a bayonet and machete and parked near the Democratic National Committee headquarters, just blocks from the Capitol, has heightened concerns about violence," Politico reports.