Philip Bump at WP:
It’s been a banner week for efforts to cast the violent riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 as something more innocuous.
In a hearing Wednesday, for example, Rep. Andrew S. Clyde (R-Ga.) said the mob’s breaking through windows and assaulting police officers was like a “normal tourist visit” to the building, which is a little bit like describing a wild pack of hyenas ripping apart a wildebeest as “a regular day at the zoo.” The idea is that tourists walk through the Capitol in appreciation of their surroundings — and on Jan. 6, a few trespassers in the building may similarly have stopped to appreciate the history around them. Before breaking it.
Happily for Clyde, his colleague Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tex.) came along Friday to reset the bar for dishonestly downplaying the events of that day, which resulted in multiple people dying and scores of law enforcement offers being injured.
“I just want the president to understand,” he said: “There have been things worse than people without any firearms coming into a building.”
For Gohmert, though, there’s a more immediate concern. In the weeks before the riot, he was an active and vocal supporter of Trump’s false claims about the election being stolen. Gohmert elevated even the most ludicrous theories, such as the utterly ridiculous idea that vote totals had been funneled through Germany and then manipulated for some reason. Gohmert was there for that whole period, clapping along to every beat.
He also filed a last-minute lawsuit aimed at somehow forcing Vice President Mike Pence to block the finalization of Joe Biden’s victory. When a federal judge rejected the idea for a thousand obvious reasons, Gohmert was incensed.
He appeared on Newsmax to discuss the ruling.
“Bottom line is, the court is saying: ‘We’re not going to touch this. You have no remedy,’" he said — “basically, in effect, the ruling would be that you got to go the streets and be as violent as antifa and BLM.”
The “violent as antifa and BLM” line is a reference to right-wing rhetoric that often casts the Black Lives Matter movement as inherently violent and that identifies antifa — a loose-knit group of activists that opposes what it views as fascist actors — as a near-existential threat to the country. Both BLM and antifa were elevated by Trump and other Republicans as the 2020 election approached for having prompted violent riots across the United States, though later research made clear that such violence was the exception, not the norm.
Gohmert’s point, though, was that his legal loss left only violence as an outlet for blocking the election. He said that Jan. 2.
The Rep. Clyde news reminded me of this:— Tom Williams (@pennstatetom) May 15, 2021
UNITED STATES - JANUARY 6: Rep. Andrew Clyde, R-Ga., second from top left, helps barricade the House chamber door as rioters disrupt the joint session of Congress to certify the Electoral College vote on January 6, 2021. pic.twitter.com/ewizgiuwLn