More than six months after extremist supporters of former President Donald Trump stormed the United States Capitol in an effort to overturn the results of the 2020 election, right-wing lawmakers and media personalities continue to downplay the severity of the Capitol Riots.
One of these Republicans is Congressman Andrew Clyde of Georgia, who generated controversy this past May when he said the riots simply resembled a "normal tourist visit."
Clyde's exact words were:
"There was no insurrection, and to call it an insurrection, in my opinion, is a bold-faced lie. Watching the TV footage of those who entered the Capitol and walked through Statuary Hall showed people in an orderly fashion staying between the stanchions and ropes taking videos and pictures. You know, if you didn't know the TV footage was a video from January the sixth, you'd actually think it was a normal tourist visit."
As hours upon hours of video footage confirm, the deadly failed insurrection was violent, with rioters shattering windows, beating police officers, ransacking offices, and calling for the execution of any lawmaker they deemed disloyal to Trump, including his own Vice President, Mike Pence.
In a House Rules Committee hearing on Tuesday, just hours after the House Select Committee heard harrowing testimony from police officers who defended the Capitol, Democratic Congressman Jamie Raskin of Maryland, called Clyde out in a tense exchange.
Raskin addressed Clyde:
"[The officers] were asked the question by several of our colleagues ... about statements that you made, saying that the January 6 violent insurrection against Congress was akin to a 'normal tourist visit,' and those officers said they weren't tourists, they were terrorists. Do you stand by your statement that they were tourists?"
"I would like you to quote my exact statement, not your interpretation of my statement."
When Raskin did just that, Clyde retorted:
"I stand by that exact statement, as I said it."
Raskin emphasized the testimony of the officers just hours before, and asked if Clyde agreed with their evaluation that the rioters were terrorists.
Clyde proceeded to deflect.
The tense exchange made waves across social media.
People pointed to photos of a rightly fearful Clyde on the House floor during the insurrection.
Raskin concluded by urging Clyde and the rest of his colleagues to watch the testimony of the officers.