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Gaetz, Taylor Greene offer GOP 'response' to Jan. 6 anniversary

Most of the Republican Party remained silent on the anniversary of Jan. 6. Matt Gaetz and Marjorie Taylor Greene should've done the same, but didn't.
Image: Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., at the Capitol Visitor Center on June 10, 2020.
Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., at the Capitol Visitor Center on June 10, 2020.Tom Williams / CQ-Roll Call via Getty Images

On the first anniversary of the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, Republicans didn't seem to know what to say, so GOP leaders largely stayed out of the spotlight.

When it came time in the House of Representatives for a moment of silence to honor those who died as a result of the deadly riot, dozens of Democratic lawmakers gathered on the chamber floor. They were joined by just one of their Republican colleagues: Wyoming's Liz Cheney, who stood alongside her father, former Vice President Dick Cheney.

That's not to say GOP officials had literally nothing to say yesterday.

In Hillsdale, Michigan, for example, the local Republican Party held an "insurrection anniversary" party last night. We spoke to the Hillsdale GOP this week and they confirmed that they originally planned to have one of the Jan. 6 rioters participate in last night's event, but that didn't work because he's awaiting sentencing on criminal charges.

Earlier in the day, under the Missouri capitol's rotunda, there was a Jan. 6 presentation on how the 2020 election was "stolen" — and "several" Missouri legislators were in attendance. The guy giving the presentation was introduced by two GOP state lawmakers.

A related event was scheduled in Cobb County, Georgia, where local Republican officials had scheduled a vigil to pray for the "'J6 Prisoners" and "J6 Patriots" — a reference to the perpetrators of the Jan. 6 attack.

As for events in Washington, D.C., there was, oddly enough, just one Republican event related to the anniversary of the assault on the Capitol — and it was held by Reps. Matt Gaetz and Marjorie Taylor Greene, who'd announced plans to "a Republican response" to the day's events.

As Dana Milbank noted, it didn't go especially well.

"We did not want the Republican voice to go unheard, and we did not want today's historical narrative to be hijacked by those who were the true insurrectionists," Gaetz said. And so, in a meeting room in the Cannon House Office Building, two flights up from where Democratic lawmakers were at the same time recalling their personal horrors from Jan. 6, the duo spent 37 minutes telling reporters that Jan. 6 was a "fed-surrection," a plot perpetrated by the FBI.

Earlier in the day, the right-wing representatives appeared on Steve Bannon's show, and peddled related conspiracy theories. The New York Times added, "Mr. Gaetz said that if Republicans took control of Congress after this year's midterm elections, he would take over the Jan. 6 committee investigating what happened, make Ms. Greene the committee chair, and use it to outline the role federal agencies played in the attack."

This came roughly a month after the Floridian also boasted to reporters, in reference to radical Jan. 6 conspiracy theories, "We are going to take power after this next election and when we do, it's ... going to be the days of Jim Jordan and Marjorie Taylor Greene and Dr. [Paul] Gosar and myself doing everything to get the answers to these questions."

In other words, as most of the Republican Party remained silent on the anniversary of Jan. 6, some local GOP officials celebrated the riot, while the only Republican response on Capitol Hill came from radicals who expect to have great influence if voters hand the GOP a majority in the fall.