Right-wing elected officials and media personalities have repeatedly dismissed the severity of the January 6 insurrection, when a mob of pro-Trump extremists, motivated by the former President's lies about the 2020 election, stormed the United States Capitol to prevent congressional certification of then-President-elect Joe Biden's victory.
Republican lawmakers have absurdly claimed the siege wasn't violent and have even likened the deadly riots to "a normal tourist visit."
They've also continued to defend the hundreds of people arrested in connection with the riots, many of whom are still being held in confinement.
In a recent town hall appearance, far-right Congressman Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina was asked about these arrested insurrectionists.
"Political hostages! So this is something we are trying to figure everything out about. ... The big problem is we don't actually know where all the political prisoners are. And so if we were to actually be able to go and try and bust them out — and let me tell you, the reason why they're taking these political prisoners is because they're trying to make an example, because they don't want to see the mass protests going on in Washington."
Another spectator asked when Cawthorn was "going to call us to Washington again," to which the Congressman replied:
"We are actively working on that one. We have a few plans in motion I can't make public right now, but this is something that we're working on. There are a lot of Republicans who don't want to talk about this."
Cawthorn also repeated the fantasy that Biden wasn't legitimately elected—the same lie that led to the riots in the first place.
His comments were panned across social media for embracing calls to violence.
The domestic terrorists in Congress are at it again. https://t.co/NWdc9sh08j— Adam Parkhomenko (@Adam Parkhomenko) 1630342238.0
Inciting sedition or something. I’m not a lawyer but it smells like a member of Congress is encouraging more violen… https://t.co/35AGphMfTF— Fred Wellman (@Fred Wellman) 1630345133.0
Please read and then consider what steps, small or big, you can take to defeat this Member of Congress and others l… https://t.co/yNskB8NaEB— E. Colette Nelson (@E. Colette Nelson) 1630360325.0
Sounds like #MadisonCawthorn has been identified as a top-level Insurrectionist Leader https://t.co/jB2OvUiD7A— KarenTheCatServant (@KarenTheCatServant) 1630361206.0
Some called on the FBI and the Justice Department to intervene.
Hey @FBI, @TheJusticeDept Here's another terror cell organizer openly plotting another attack on our democracy. Wh… https://t.co/iSDHe1yyrq— SJinn (@SJinn) 1630365519.0
Hey @SecretService @FBI @TheJusticeDept Madison Cawthorn is threatening bloodshed. https://t.co/plj2ZqYrsD— Semi-Bionic 🤖 Woman (@Semi-Bionic 🤖 Woman) 1630364057.0
Hi @FBI I’d like to report the planning of another insurrection attempt. Please see the attached video evidence of… https://t.co/uxiArN5WYM— Tris (@Tris) 1630357401.0
Somebody needs to be questioned by the .@FBI. #MadisonCawthorn https://t.co/oTgIbaTH1L— Julia (@Julia) 1630342523.0
Cawthorn warned there would be "bloodshed" if elections "continue to be rigged," as he falsely claimed.