After months of using the Jan. 6 unrest at the Capitol to further a partisan political narrative, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi lashed out last week, referring to Republican lawmakers who denied that the events of that day amounted to an insurrection as “sick” and in the grips of something “beyond denial,” according to The Hill.
Pelosi’s comments came in response to remarks made by multiple GOP legislators during a House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing Wednesday, with the statements of Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-GA) in particular drawing the speaker’s ire.
Opining that describing the events of that fateful winter day is akin to telling a “boldfaced lie,” Clyde went on to say, “Watching the TV footage of those who entered the Capitol and walked through Statuary Hall showed people in an orderly fashion staying between the stanchions and ropes taking videos and pictures,” adding, “You know, if you didn’t know the TV footage was video from Jan. 6, you’d think it was a normal tourist visit.”
The congressman expanded on his assessment, saying, “As one of the members who stayed in the Capitol, and on the House floor, who with other Republican colleagues helped barricade the door until almost 3 p.m. From the mob who tried to enter, I can tell you the House floor was never breached and it was not an insurrection. This is the truth,” as the Gainesville Times noted.
Clyde’s characterization was, according to Pelosi, “beyond denial,” and “fell into the range of sick,” according to CBS News, and the speaker claimed that such remarks are indicative of the opposition Democrats are facing when it comes to appropriating additional funds to bolster Capitol security.
Pelosi took serious issue with Clyde’s description of the day’s gathering as “normal,” saying, “Well, I don’t know on a normal day around here when people are threatening to hang the vice president of the United States or shoot the speaker in the forehead or disrupt and injure so many police officers. I don’t consider that normal.”
In that vein, Pelosi continues to push for the creation of a so-called “January 6 commission” to further probe the events that took place at the Capitol, though Democrats and Republicans have yet to agree on the final parameters of such a panel, according to CBS News.
Should consensus not be reached on the guiding details of the commission, Pelosi has emphasized her willingness to seek a congressional probe in which the Democrats would enjoy full subpoena power, though she indicated her hope that “we don’t have to go that route.”
Though Pelosi remains committed to the portrayal of Jan. 6 as a violent overthrow attempt committed by right-wing extremists who pose a continued threat to the nation’s capital, the perspective provided by Rep. Clyde – if a bit hyperbolic in itself – serves as an important reality check on a runaway narrative that has been allowed to dominate the discussion for far too long.