Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) says the violent Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol was no ordinary “tourist visit,” as one Republican congressman claimed this week when describing the thousands of Donald Trump supporters who stormed the building in an attempt to prevent Joe Biden from becoming president.
“I was there,” Romney told HuffPost on Thursday. “What happened was a violent effort to interfere with and prevent the constitutional order of installing a new president.”
“As such, it was an insurrection against the Constitution that resulted in severe property damage, severe injuries and death,” he added.
Romney was a direct witness to the attack, which resulted in five deaths and more than 100 officers injured. In security footage from that day, the Utah senator can be seen narrowly escaping danger as he runs down a corridor moments after rioters enter the building.
On Wednesday, newly released body camera footage from a D.C. metropolitan police officer gave a vivid portrayal of the life-and-death struggle on the Capitol steps that day. Officer Michael Fanone is heard screaming in pain after rioters beat him and shocked him with a stun gun, an experience he later called “the most brutal, savage hand-to-hand combat of my entire life.”
During a House oversight committee hearing on Wednesday discussing what went wrong in police preparation for the events of Jan. 6, Republican lawmakers tried to rewrite history and paint Trump supporters as the victims.
“There was no insurrection,” Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-Ga.) claimed during the hearing. “And to call it an insurrection, in my opinion, is a boldfaced lie.”
Clyde also said that video of the day’s violence looked to him like “a normal tourist visit.”
Rep. Jody Hice (R-Ga.) claimed that Trump supporters were the real victims on Jan. 6, citing the death of Trump supporter Ashli Babbitt, who was killed by a Capitol Police officer as she tried to enter the House chamber. Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.), meanwhile, referred to hundreds of insurrectionists arrested and charged by the FBI as “peaceful patriots,” describing efforts by law enforcement officials to round up suspected rioters as harassment.
The brazen attempt by Republicans to downplay the disturbing events of Jan. 6 even shocked House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who called it “quite appalling.”
“It was beyond denial,” Pelosi told reporters on Thursday. “It fell into the range of ‘sick.’”