Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut
The shock of what happened last year on January 6 was immediate, surreal, visceral. We watched it on television as if it was a movie, and then kept saying we could not believe it was happening. Hundreds of men and women attacked the Capitol Building, overrunning police barricades and Capitol Police, because they wanted to stop the counting of electoral votes. An almost routine bit of statecraft was also one of the most sacred, and respected aspects of the United States democracy. And somehow a bunch of stirred up people, some wearing Trump hats and carrying Trump signs, had decided to overthrow our government.
One year later, on a date surely set aside to consider what happened on that date, what happened? Members of the Democratic Party tried to assess the damage. Members of the Republican Party disappeared.
Brian Fitzpatrick, our Congressman from Disctrict 01, just recorded a surprising interview in which he remembered the chaos of that day. Earlier this week he gave an interview to Politico in which he said: “Things really haven’t quite recovered after Jan. 6, and that’s a reality.” As a co-leader of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus, and a self-described “centrist,” he says he has faced threats to his life from outside the Capitol this year. “Anytime somebody gets attacked, the natural human instinct is to counter-punch, and then it just kind of devolves downward. There’s been more attacking, sometimes personal attacks.” It’s not clear who is attacking and who is counter-punching here.
Yet Fitzpatrick remains resolutely in line with the Republican gimmick of shaking his head over the disruption, but acting as if it was something like a tornado, no one’s fault, and certainly not worth examining further. It just happened, and let’s move on.
Only one elected Republican representative turned up in the House of Representatives for January 6. She was Liz Cheney, chair of the House committee investigating the attacks. The threat of that day continues, she says. She told The Today Show: “Unfortunately, too many in my own party are embracing the former president, are looking the other way or minimizing the danger. That’s how democracies die. We simply cannot let that happen.”
She was accompanied by her father, former Vice President Dick Cheney, a bedrock Republican.
He said, about the failure of a single other Republican Congressman to show up, “It’s not a leadership that resembles any of the folks I knew when I was here for 10 years — dramatically.”
“We’re at a point now where the Big Lie is perpetuating itself,” Sen. Bob Casey (D., Pa.) said on the Senate floor, where no Republicans at all showed up. Twenty or so of them, including Mitch McConnell, had the excuse that they had to attend former Senator Johnny Isakson’s funeral in Georgia, oddly scheduled for January 6, even though he had died on December 19.
Former President Donald Trump wisely canceled the speech he had announced he would make on this date. President Joseph Biden took time to make a comment of his own: “Here is the truth: The former president of the United States has created and spread a web of lies about the 2020 election. He’s done so because he values power over principle. Because his bruised ego matters more to him than our democracy or Constitution.”
Meanwhile a group called The Republican Accountability Project gave voice to some Republicans on this day. It ran this commercial on the Fox programs “Fox & Friends,” “Hannity” and “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” quoting these Republicans with what they said in the days and months immediately after Jan. 6: House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) “The President bears responsibility for Wednesday’s attack on Congress”; Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell; Sen. Ted Cruz; Sen. Lindsey Graham, and Rep. Mike Gallagher.
So Republicans were heard from after all.