Rep. Andrew Clyde downplays Jan. 6 as ‘no insurrection’ in U.S. House hearing
Georgia U.S. Rep. Andrew Clyde's description of the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol as "no insurrection" was widely criticized after a House Oversight Committee hearing Wednesday. Screenshot via YouTube.
WASHINGTON — Georgia U.S. Rep. Andrew Clyde said the people who broke into the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 were as docile as tourists and no insurrection occurred that day, drawing a rebuke from the lieutenant governor and derision on late-night TV and cable news.
Clyde, a Republican from Athens, made his controversial remarks during Wednesday’s hearing about the Capitol riot, held by the House Oversight and Reform Committee. He was among several Republicans who denied key details of Jan. 6, but Clyde’s comments went the furthest.
“There was no insurrection,” he said. “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 Jan. 6, you’d actually think it was a normal tourist visit.”
Clyde in those same comments acknowledged that “there was an undisciplined mob, there were some rioters and some who committed acts of vandalism.” He noted he was among the lawmakers who helped barricade the door to the House chambers.
Hundreds of people marched from a rally supporting Donald Trump to the Capitol, where Congress was in the process of confirming the Electoral College vote to elect Joe Biden as president. In the process, many forced their way past law enforcement and into the Capitol that day.
Four people in the crowd died, including a Georgia woman who was crushed in the crowd and another woman who was shot by police. An officer who was confronted by rioters also died, but medical professionals later determined his death was due to natural causes. Nearly 500 people have been arrested and charged with breaching the Capitol or other related crimes.
A representative for Clyde did not respond to an email asking whether he had any response to accusations that he was spreading falsehoods about Jan. 6.
Georgia Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan, in response to a video that put Clyde’s comments side by side with footage from that day, criticized his fellow Republican.
“Hard to believe any elected official could be this oblivious to reality,” Duncan wrote on Twitter. “It’s this type of blind ignorance that got our party into this mess to start with.”
Hard to believe any elected official could be this oblivious to reality. It’s this type of blind ignorance that got our party into this mess to start with. https://t.co/YcMvpT4oCt
U.S. Rep. Jody Hice, R-Greensboro, another Georgia member of the committee, defended Trump during his remarks. The former president has been accused of inciting the riot by encouraging supporters at the rally to march to the Capitol.
Trump’s words and actions that day were taken out of context to create a false narrative, Hice said Wednesday.
“Madame Chair,” HIce said, addressing U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., “why don’t you talk about how the president used those words ‘to peacefully and patriotically’ (march) instead of cherry-picking words that you want to use to portray an image of something that did not happen.”
U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Lithonia, who is also a member of the committee, used his speaking time to question former acting Secretary of Defense Chris Miller about the deployment of National Guard troops on Jan. 6 and whether intelligence reports in days prior had been properly vetted.
Tia Mitchell is the AJC’s Washington correspondent. In this role, she writes about Georgia’s congressional delegation, campaigns, elections and the impact that decisions made in D.C. have on residents of the Peach State.