Those insurrection-backing false claims represent an ongoing danger to the safety of the American public and the stability of government itself, but Republican Party leaders and lawmakers are nearly unanimous in refusing to even acknowledge that they are happening. On the contrary, each proposed bipartisan probe of a violent insurrection has been blocked by those Republicans, one after the other, and the current select committee formed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is no different. After Pelosi’s rejection of two House Republicans—Jim Jordan and Jim Banks, who had repeatedly expressed an intent to disrupt the committee’s probe—McCarthy pulled all remaining Republican members from consideration in an attempt to portray this committee, too, as solely a Democratic endeavor.
At least two House Republicans have now been seated to the committee anyway, however. Rep. Liz Cheney was stripped of her Republican leadership position after she condemned the false election claims used by insurrectionists to justify their violence, but accepted Pelosi’s invitation to be seated on the select committee over Republican objections. Rep. Adam Kinzinger has similarly accepted Pelosi’s appointment.
Both Republicans are likely to face retaliation from their fellow House Republicans for daring to assist in the insurrection probe. The Republican “Freedom Caucus,” made up of far-right House Republicans who were among the most eager to promote fraudulent election claims and similar propaganda, are demanding McCarthy strip both Cheney and Kinzinger from all other committee assignments as punishment—a move that Pelosi herself could immediately reverse by reappointing them both regardless of Republican complaints.
What is evident, though, is that support for the insurrection is now so solidified among Republican lawmakers that even investigating the events of that day is considered to be an attack on the party.
That view may not be wrong. Republican lawmakers in both the House and Senate eagerly pushed false claims about the election results from November onward. Multiple lawmakers spoke to the crowd assembled by Trump just before the attack on the Capitol began. A majority of House Republicans voted to reject the electoral vote totals in Biden-won states due to Trumpian claims of fraud that were knowably false. All of this was aimed at discrediting the incoming not-Republican administration; at justifying further sabotage of not-Republican priorities; at placating a delusional, authoritarian incompetent; and at discrediting the process of elections in general—thus justifying a new nationwide push for new voting laws aimed squarely at complicating the process for working class voters and other not-Republican communities while putting new rules in place allowing Republican-held legislatures to directly manipulate how elections are run and whether their results will be accepted.
Each of these Republican claims, made by Republican lawmakers to a Republican-backing crowd specifically assembled by Donald Trump and his allies as direct counter to the House and Senate verification of the election’s results, is directly responsible for goading that crowd into violence on Jan. 6. The insurrectionists were made to believe that a U.S. election had been fraudulently decided and that they themselves would be patriots if they took action against Congress to prevent the “fraud” from being formally accepted. The whole point of the “march” that day was to intimidate Congress into falsifying the election results in favor of the Republican loser; the whole point of marching in those precise moments was to arrive at the perilously unguarded Capitol exactly as Trump’s singled-out enemies were formalizing his removal from power.
There is absolutely no question that the insurrection was caused by false Republican propaganda promoted by the party as means to overturn a U.S. election. None. There is no plausible argument that the insurrection of Jan. 6 would still have happened if Republican lawmakers had not amplified Trump’s patently false election conspiracy claims, or if Trump’s Republican allies had not specifically arranged for the mob of violent militia members and other alleged “patriots” to assemble outside Congress on that specific day and time, or if Republican broadcasters had not jumped wholeheartedly to manufacture and disseminate an unending series of new conspiracy claims blaming Trump’s loss on everything from dead Venezuelan leaders to Italian satellites to voting companies to the brand of pens used on the ballots to antifa to alleged bamboo-infused ballots shipped in from China.
It was a Republican insurrection, supported by the party up until the moment lawmakers found their own lives in danger—and supported again as soon as lawmakers were convinced the danger had passed. Of course House Republicans intend to block any and all retellings of that day. Trump is making the same claims even now; the insurrection being probed by a new House select committee isn’t even over yet.