'They were masquerading as Trump supporters and in fact were members of the violent terrorist group antifa,' said Rep. Matt Gaetz.
A number of Republican lawmakers and right-wing media personalities are blaming "antifa" for the violent attack by supporters of Donald Trump on the Capitol on Wednesday that led to at least four deaths, ignoring their own responsibility in helping foment the rage underlying the attack.
Some GOP lawmakers did call out Trump and members of their own party for the lies about voter fraud and a stolen election that culminated in Wednesday's failed coup, placing the blame at their feet.
"What happened here today was an insurrection incited by the President of the United States," Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) said in an impassioned speech on the Senate floor after the body reconvened to certify President-elect Joe Biden as the winner of the 2020 election.
"You have some senators who, for political advantage, were giving false hope to their supporters. These senators, as insurrectionists literally stormed the Capitol, were sending out fundraising emails," Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) said on Fox News.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) had quite literally sent a fundraising text as the Trump-supporting mob ransacked the Capitol.
Some repetitions of the lie that the attack was carried out by so-called antifa and not Trump supporters came from top GOP leadership. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy made the suggestion Wednesday night in an interview with Fox News host Laura Ingraham.
"People came here to do some damage. I don't know who they were with," McCarthy said of the group, which wore Trump hats, Trump shirts, and carried Trump flags. His comment was followed by a suggestion from Ingraham that "Antifa was in there."
Two other House Republicans, some of the most vocal supporters of Trump's coup, have also falsely blamed antifa for the attacks.
Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama, a leader in the failed effort to block the certification of Biden's win, has tweeted numerous times that the attack was a false-flag operation.
"Please, don't be like #FakeNewsMedia, don't rush to judgment on assault on Capitol. Wait for investigation. All may not be (and likely is not) what appears. Evidence growing that fascist ANTIFA orchestrated Capitol attack with clever mob control tactics," Brooks tweeted, a baseless lie that seeks to absolve Trump supporters of the violence.
Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida, who has previously said his sole purpose in Congress is to support Trump, issued the lie from the House floor during the debate over certification.
"Some of the people who breached the Capitol today were not Trump supporters, they were masquerading as Trump supporters and in fact were members of the violent terrorist group antifa," Gaetz said.
Other right-wing figures, such as Fox News' Sean Hannity and Sarah Palin, the former vice presidential nominee, also tried to absolve Trump supporters of guilt by falsely pinning the attack on antifa.
Trump knew that the rioters were his own supporters, treating the terrorists with kid gloves in tweets members of his current and former staff implored him to send to end the attack.
"We love you. You're very special. You see the way others are treated that are so bad and so evil but go home and go home in peace," Trump said.
Antifa has been the go-to boogeyman for Republicans over the 2020 presidential cycle. They blamed the group for violent protests across the country.
Trump himself demanded his administration designate antifa as a domestic terror organization on Tuesday night. Experts say antifa cannot be deemed a domestic terror organization because it is not an organization at all, but rather a loosely organized movement.
Analysis continues to show that right-wing white supremacist groups and not antifa are the biggest domestic terror threat the country currently faces.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.