A year ago today, pro-Trump rioters hopped up on election conspiracies stormed the US Capitol, threatening to hang Vice President Mike Pence and tried to halt Congress from certifying Joe Biden’s win. This anniversary is obviously very bad for Republicans: It put the party’s white supremacist and misogynistic core on live cable feeds. Five Washington, DC, police officers died as a result of the attacks, one the next day and four who died by suicide in the months afterward. The party of law and order and Blue Lives Matter would go on to bitterly fight over honoring the police who protected the Capitol.
For a few brief days last year, it seemed that Republicans might actually reject their addled king, but of course it didn’t last, and now people who speak out about the insurrection or about Trump—like Congresswoman Liz Cheney and Senator Mitt Romney—are pariahs.
Now on the anniversary of the attack, Republicans are making wild statements because they either view themselves as standard-bearers of the party or are pro-coup and need the MAGA base to win their races, or both.
This morning, President Biden said in a speech that Trump spread “a web of lies” and that he and his supporters “held a dagger at the throat of democracy.” During that speech, Senator Lindsey Graham made such a reach to mention the Taliban that he probably needs to see a chiropractor:
He later accused Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris of using their speeches to “resurrect a failed presidency more than marking the anniversary of a dark day in American history.”
Graham isn’t the only one sharing his worst takes today. Senator Ted Cruz defended Fox News hosts not using the word “insurrection” this morning by calling it “a political term used by Democrats & the corporate media to try to falsely slander every Trump voter across America. It’s transparent political theater.”
Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz went on Steve Bannon’s show and said, “We’re ashamed of nothing, we’re proud of the work that we did on January 6 to make legitimate arguments about election integrity.” Gaetz appeared alongside Georgia Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene who claimed that the January 6th Committee investigating the attack was simply an effort to kick people like them out of Congress.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis called January 6 “Christmas” for journalists, who he said didn’t pay as much attention to the 2017 shooting at a Congressional baseball practice, which notably was not egged on by the sitting president and top lawmakers. “That was like a one-day, two-day story,” he said. “That was not something that the Capitol-based press wanted to talk about. Why? Because it totally undercut their preferred narratives. January 6th allows them to create narratives that are negative about people that supported Donald Trump.”
Arizona Congressman Andy Biggs released a statement in which he casually suggested that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and federal agents were to blame for the violence. Biggs said that a “serious and legitimate” Committee inquiry “would be asking questions like, why was there a lack of training and equipment for law enforcement? What role did Speaker Pelosi play in preventing law enforcement from having adequate personnel and material to protect the Capitol? Did paid federal law enforcement agents provoke the riot?”
The pro-coup and coup-curious crowd are doing absolutely totally fine today, thank you for asking.