In the months since former President Donald Trump's election lies sparked a deadly failed insurrection against the United States Capitol, Republican elected officials and media personalities have leapt to defend the rioters and dismiss the severity of the devastating day.
The House Select Committee investigating the riots has subpoenaed some of the former President's allies to further scrutinize Trump's actions before and during the riots. These actions have been the subject of widespread criticism, as it took Trump hours to finally condemn the riots and encourage the participants to go home, noting that he loved them and that they were very special.
Despite hours of footage showing rioters shatter windows, ransack offices, beat police officers, and call for the execution of any lawmaker perceived as disloyal to Trump, conservatives continue to paint them as non-threatening. Notably, Congressman Andrew Clyde of Georgia pointed to a video of rioters walking through the Capitol (which was closed to the public), claiming it resembled a "normal tourist visit."
Far-right Fox News host and white nationalist Tucker Carlson was the latest to amplify these lies to his millions of viewers in a recent broadcast.
"You don't see people hiding bombs or using bayonets or firing weapons, trying to take over the country in insurrection. You see people walking around and taking pictures. They don't look like terrorists, they look like tourists, and all of them—by the way—are Americans."
What Carlson didn't show was the rioters who broke windows to infiltrate the Capitol, or who were shot after trying to force their way into the Speakers' gallery, or who tried to crush a an officer in a door frame, or who trampled one of their fellow rioters to death.
People were quick to call Carlson out for his delusional characterization.
Others brought receipts.
For his part, Trump continues to defend the rioters' actions during the siege of the Capitol.