The top Republican in the House of Representatives has come out against a bipartisan commission to investigate the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol because the commission wouldn’t blame Black Lives Matter for the attack.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said in a statement Tuesday that the proposed commission “ignores the political violence that has struck American cities” and that it has a “shortsighted scope that does not examine interrelated forms of political violence in America.”
The House is set to vote this week on legislation establishing the commission. The bipartisan bill, negotiated by House Homeland Security Committee Chair Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) and ranking member John Katko (R-N.Y.), is modeled on the bipartisan commission that investigated the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
The problem for McCarthy is that the Republican Party is thoroughly implicated in the Capitol riot, which former President Donald Trump incited with lies about the 2020 presidential election ― lies that McCarthy and most other congressional Republicans supported.
McCarthy and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) initially resisted a commission proposal from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) because it would have had more Democratic than Republican appointees, but Pelosi conceded to an even party split weeks ago.
If Republicans really thought last year’s Black Lives Matter protests had something to do with the Capitol attack, then they would support the commission, since the Thompson-Katko legislation charges investigators with looking at security failures “as well as the influencing factors that fomented such attack.” There’s nothing in the legislation limiting the commission’s scope like McCarthy said.
But McCarthy has already run from the truth. In the days after the insurrection, he acknowledged Trump “bears responsibility” for what happened. However, he then reversed his stance and said Trump didn’t provoke the attack after all. McCarthy also supported rank-and-file Republicans in purging Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) from her role in party leadership because of her statements calling out Trump’s election lies and blaming him for the attack.
Pelosi called Republicans cowards when asked about McCarthy’s statement on Tuesday.
“I’m very pleased that we have a bipartisan bill to come to the floor, and it’s disappointing but not surprising that the cowardice on the part of some on the Republican side not to want to find that truth,” she told NBC News.