Republicans are repeating the false claim that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is responsible for security at the U.S. Capitol.
Defenders of Donald Trump in the House of Representatives have a new target for their efforts to shift blame for the attack on the U.S. Capitol by his followers on Jan. 6 away from Trump: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
In a letter to Pelosi dated Feb. 15 and signed by Reps. Jim Jordan (R-OH), Devin Nunes (R-CA), James Comer (R-KY), and Rodney Davis (R-IL), the Republican lawmakers demand that Pelosi answer questions about her role in making decisions about security measures at the Capitol around the time of the attack, incited by Trump over months of his lying about voter fraud and demanding that his supporters gather on Jan. 6, march to the Capitol, and "fight" to stop President Joe Biden from being certified the winner of the 2020 presidential election.
"Five weeks have passed since the January 6th attack on the Capitol building, and many important questions about your responsibility for the security of the Capitol remain unanswered," the letter reads. "As you are aware, the Speaker of the House is not only the leader of the majority party, but also has enormous institutional responsibilities. The Speaker is responsible for all operational decisions made within the House."
The Associated Press called the claim that Pelosi was responsible for day-to-day security at the Capitol false. Bee Barnett of the U.S. Capitol Historical Society told the AP, "No one person oversees USCP — the oversight apparatus includes representation from the Architect of the Capitol, the House and Senate Sergeants at Arms, as well as committees from both Houses of Congress."
While the Republican congressman demand that Pelosi tell them why, when U.S. Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund "made a request for national guard support on January 4th ... was that request denied?" Pelosi has no role in calling in the Guard: That authority lies with the commander in chief of the armed forces, and it was Trump himself who refused for hours to call in the Guard to assist the police during the riot situation. He instead "enjoyed" watching his supporters' actions, CNN reported.
And if Pelosi somehow were responsible for security at the Capitol, then presumably so too would be then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell as leader of one of the other chamber of Congress.
But Republicans are not blaming McConnell or demanding answers from him.
The Republican congressmen's attempt to shift blame to Pelosi comes two days after a majority of senators voted during his impeachment trial to convict Trump on the charge of inciting insurrection.
Conviction would have required a two-thirds' majority vote, but even some Republican senators who voted to acquit said Trump was responsible for the attack that left five people dead, including a Capitol Police officer.
A poll released by ABC News Monday finds 58% of Americans think Trump should have been convicted, including 14% of Republicans. A Reuters poll released Saturday, the day Trump was acquitted, found 71% of Americans, including "nearly half of all Republicans," think Trump was "at least partially responsible" for the insurrection.
Kurt Bardella, a media strategist who left the Republican Party in 2018 and who had worked for the House Oversight Committee during Republicans' yearslong investigation into the attacks on U.S. facilities in Benghazi, Libya that killed four Americans in 2012, tweeted on Monday, "The Republican strategy here is clear: they are looking to do to 1.6 what they did with #Benghazi. They will try to do to @SpeakerPelosi what they did to @HillaryClinton. Same exact playbook. Do not let them get away with this my fellow Democrats!"
Pelosi did not respond to the Republicans' letter.
In her own "Dear Democratic Colleague" letter marking the Presidents Day holiday on Monday, Pelosi wrote,
For the past few weeks, General [Russel] Honoré has been assessing our security needs by reviewing what happened on January 6 and how we must ensure that it does not happen again. He has been working with Committees of Jurisdiction and will continue to make proposals.
It is clear from his findings and from the impeachment trial that we must get to the truth of how this happened. To protect our security, our security, our security, our next step will be to establish an outside, independent 9/11-type Commission to 'investigate and report on the facts and causes relating to the January 6, 2021 domestic terrorist attack upon the United States Capitol Complex ... and relating to the interference with the peaceful transfer of power, including facts and causes relating to the preparedness and response of the United States Capitol Police and other Federal, State, and local law enforcement in the National Capitol Region."
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.