House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday ramped up pressure on her Republican counterpart, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, to call out members of his party who have downplayed the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol and attacked the police officers who responded to the riot – most notably former President Donald Trump.
Pelosi spokesperson Robyn Patterson seized on former President Donald Trump’s statements on Wednesday praising slain rioter Ashli Babbitt, who was shot while trying to breach the House chamber, and claiming to know the identity of the shooter.
Patterson noted Trump’s comments fit a pattern of GOP attacks on the law enforcement officers who defended the Capitol on Jan. 6, such as Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) claiming Babbitt was “executed” and Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) labeling the testimony of officers last month “performance art.”
Patterson called for a “long overdue” condemnation from McCarthy of this “long line of vile Republican attacks,” urging him to “get off of his hands” and “stand up to the members of his conference and party who have been terrorizing the brave officers.”
Forbes has reached out to McCarthy’s office for comment.
In his quest for the speakership, McCarthy has carefully avoided calling out members of his party’s right flank – though he has been willing at times to needle anti-Trump Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.). Last month, McCarthy walked back his January assertion that Trump “bears responsibility” for the attack, stating that he made the remark without “the information we have today.”
“He’s a good politician. He said, if I remember correctly, he would ‘take it seriously,’” D.C. Police officer Michael Fanone, who was injured responding to the Capitol attack, said after a meeting with McCarthy in June in which he asked the GOP leader to condemn lawmakers who downplay the attack and avoid putting “obstructionists” on the Jan. 6 select committee.
McCarthy pulled his five picks for the committee last month after Pelosi refused to seat Banks and Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), who had put out statements indicating they planned to use their perches on the panel to launch partisan attacks.