WASHINGTON – The leader of Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives said Tuesday he opposes creation of a commission to investigate the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol by supporters of former President Donald Trump.
Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-California) said he opposes the new investigation of the chaos at the Capitol, which left five people dead and dozens injured, in part because he believes any probe should also address other acts of political violence in the United States over the last few years.
About 800 people, many of them wearing Trump-themed hats and shirts, rampaged past police into the Capitol as lawmakers were in the initial stages of certifying that Joe Biden had won the Electoral College vote over Trump. Two weeks later Biden was inaugurated as the country’s 46th president.
Trump supporter Douglas Austen Jensen, wearing a QAnon shirt, confronts police on the second floor of the U.S. Capitol after breaching security defenses, in Washington, January 6, 2021.
Some rioters smashed doors and windows and took over the evacuated two chambers of Congress and nearby congressional offices. More than 400 of the rioters have been charged with an array of criminal offenses as prosecutors continue their investigation.
A bipartisan group of Democratic and Republican lawmakers agreed last week on the shape and scope of a commission to probe why and how the insurrection occurred. It appears House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the leader of the House’s Democratic majority, has enough votes to approve the creation of the commission in a vote set for Wednesday, although the measure’s fate is less certain in the politically divided Senate.
McCarthy said congressional committees are already investigating the events of January 6, when Trump at a political rally near the White House urged supporters to march to the Capitol to confront lawmakers. The former president continues to insist, without evidence, that he was cheated out of reelection and has never called Biden to concede the outcome.
The House Republican leader said any commission agenda should include an investigation of other political violence in the U.S.
“The renewed focus by Democrats to now stand up an additional commission ignores the political violence that has struck American cities, a Republican congressional baseball practice, and, most recently, the deadly attack on Capitol Police on April 2, 2021,” McCarthy said. “The presence of this political violence in American society cannot be tolerated and it cannot be overlooked.”
As the events of January 6 fade from daily news coverage, some Republicans have downplayed its seriousness. One lawmaker last week described those entering the Capitol as much like tourists visiting the building.
But Trump’s political opponents say they view the attack as an assault on democracy and hope the commission’s investigation will highlight the role the former president played in fomenting the violence.