Democrats move to censure GOP House members who downplay the Capitol riot

Three of the most far-right lawmakers in Congress are being targeted by the resolution to censure

By Zachary Petrizzo
Published May 18, 2021 2:44PM (EDT)
Kevin McCarthy, Marjorie Taylor-Greene and Paul Gosar (Photo illustration by Salon/Getty Images)
Kevin McCarthy, Marjorie Taylor-Greene and Paul Gosar (Photo illustration by Salon/Getty Images)

House Democrats want accountability laid bare against Republican lawmakers who continue to indulge in election conspiracy theories and downplay the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection by introducing a measure to censure three far-right GOP members as Republican leadership knocks down a proposed bipartisan commission to investigate the attack.

The censure bill, proposed by Democratic Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., is focused on Republican Reps. Andrew Clyde, Paul Gosar, and Jody Hice, three key players alleged to have aided some organizing ahead of Jan. 6.

"These members cannot be allowed to rewrite history at their convenience by disrespecting the sacrifices made by Capitol police officers and downplaying the violent, destructive intent that rioters carried into this sacred building," Cicilline stated in a letter to fellow lawmakers. "The January 6th insurrection was an attack on our democracy that we must continue to defend against today," he added. As for the exact wording of the resolution slated to be introduced by Cicilline, that remains a work in process. 

According to NBC News, the move from Cicilline comes following a hearing last Wednesday from the House Oversight Committee on the Jan. 6th siege where Rep. Clyde argued that the attack was "not an insurrection" but rather a "normal tourist visit."

"There was an undisciplined mob. There were some rioters and some who committed acts of vandalism," Clyde said at the hearing. "But let me be clear, there was no insurrection, and to call it an insurrection, in my opinion, is a bold-faced lie. Watching the TV footage of those who entered the Capitol, and walk through Statuary Hall, showed people in an orderly fashion staying between the stanchions and ropes taking videos and pictures, you know."

Late on Monday night, an image from the day of the attack surfaced on social media, showing Clyde attempting to barricade the door to prevent pro-Trump vigilantes from entering. The GOP lawmaker was also seen in another photo screaming.

Reps. Clyde, Gosar, and Hice have all since the blowback from the siege attempted to purge the memory of the event from the nation's memory. "It was Trump supporters who lost their lives that day, not Trump supporters who were taking the lives of others," Hice claimed not too long ago. Far-right Rep. Gosar, who enjoys hanging out with white nationalist Nicholas Fuentes, claimed that police officers were "harassing peaceful patriots" that day. 

Gosar's office didn't immediately respond to a Salon request for comment. 


Zachary Petrizzo

Zachary Petrizzo is a staff writer at Salon. He previously covered politics at Mediaite and The Daily Dot. Follow him on Twitter @ZTPetrizzo. Send him tips: zpetrizzo@salon.com

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Andrew Clyde Brief Capitol David Cicilline Gop Jan 6th Jody Hice Paul Gosar Republicans Trump's Big Lie