A photo has emerged of Andrew Clyde, the Republican congressman who claimed “there was no insurrection” and compared US Capitol rioters to “tourists”, barricading the House chamber during the attack.
“The Rep. Clyde news reminded me of this,” Roll Call photographer Tom Williams tweeted this week, and included a picture of the Georgia congressman in a group of eight men pushing a piece of furniture against doors to the chamber.
Speaking on Wednesday to the House Oversight Committee, Rep. Clyde downplayed the actions of the pro-Trump mob who stormed the Capitol on 6 January as “a normal tourist visit”. The violent attack left five dead including one police officer.
“As one of the members who stayed in the Capitol, and on the House floor, who with other Republican colleagues helped barricade the door until almost 3pm from the mob who tried to enter, I can tell you the House floor was never breached and it was not an insurrection,” Mr Clyde told the committee.
“It was not an insurrection, and we cannot call it that and be truthful.”
Mr Clyde’s remarks were lambasted by lawmakers and law enforcement experts. Fred Wellman, the executive director of the Lincoln Project and a former commanding officer of US forces in Iraq, wrote: “How craven is Rep. Clyde to say there was no insurrection?”
“He helped barricade the doors from the ‘tourists.’ They know lying to the MAGA mob equals money. That’s all that matters.”
Also issuing a retort, House speaker Nancy Pelosi referred to death threats against her and former vice president Mike Pence, during a press conference on Wednesday.
“Well, I don't know a normal day around here where people are threatening to hang the vice president of the United States or shoot the Speaker in the forehead,” said Ms Pelosi, as CBS reported. “I don’t consider that normal."
Hundreds of people responded on Twitter to the photo of Mr Clyde barricading the door.
“It's a well known fact that it is a time honoured tradition to barricade doors when tourists are strolling nearby,” tweeted one user, Robin Messing .
Another user, Vivian Hasch, tweeted: “Do Georgians always barricade doors against normal, everyday tourists?”
Some other Republicans have sought to downplay the events of 6 January, which took place after former president Trump’s “Save America” rally where he, and his allies, repeated false claims that the election had been stolen.
A pro-Trump mob then stormed the US Capitol in an attempt to prevent Congress from certifying Joe Biden as the next president. More than 400 people have been charged with taking part in the riot.
On Wednesday last week, Rep. Paul Gosar falsely claimed that Capitol officers were “harassing peaceful patriots” on 6 January, according to NBC News.
Fellow Republican, Rep. Jody Hice, added: “It was Trump supporters who lost their lives that day, not Trump supporters who were taking the lives of others”.
On the same day, Republican Congresswoman Liz Cheney was ousted from her role as Republican conference chair after she has repeatedly made comments holding Mr Trump accountable for the Capitol riots.
Rep Clyde, after voting against the formation of a commission to investigate 6 January on Wednesday, issued a statement calling for the Capitol riot to be “investigated and reviewed to the fullest extent possible.”
The congressman added: “My recent comments in a serious Oversight hearing investigation pertaining to a single isolated video have been continually and outrageously misconstrued by a dishonest media looking to characterise 75 million conservative voters as domestic terrorists.”
This article was amended on May 20 2021 to include Rep Clyde’s published comments.
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