Far too many prominent Republicans have tried to defend Jan. 6 rioters as victims, but as regular readers may recall, it was Rep. Andrew Clyde who came up with one of the defining phrases of the larger political debate.
It was, after all, last May when the Georgia Republican said the rabid mob behaved “in an orderly fashion” during the attack on the Capitol. Clyde went on to say, “[I]f you didn’t know that TV footage was a video from January the 6th, you would actually think it was a normal tourist visit.”
It was around this time when Dana Milbank wrote that Clyde was a leading contender in the “race to determine who will be the looniest House Republican of 2021.”
Yesterday, the GOP congressman was at it again, this time calling out politicians who “side with criminals.” HuffPost noted:
“Any act of criminal violence is an assault on justice, which is why we must provide our brave men and women in blue with community support, the resources, and especially the political backing needed to adequately respond to surging crime across the nation,” Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-Ga.) said on the House floor.
The Georgian added, “Those in political office show both ignorance and cowardice when they side with criminals, and thereby undermine the authority of those who serve and protect. May God bless our courageous law enforcement officers who put their lives on the line each and every day.”
At this point, we could marvel at the disconnect between a politician who defended rioters, only to condemn those who “side with criminals.” It’s obviously a relevant point.
But why stop there?
Eight months ago, the House approved a measure to award Congressional Gold Medals to honor the Capitol Police officers who protected the Capitol during the Jan. 6 attack. The resolution passed 406 to 21 — and Clyde was one of the 21 who voted against it, despite knowing that the bill would easily pass anyway.
A few months earlier, the House took up an earlier version of the measure to honor Capitol Police officers, and at the time, 12 House Republicans opposed it. Was Clyde one of the 12? Of course he was.
I’m also reminded of this Washington Post report from June:
Rep. Andrew S. Clyde (R-Ga.), who voted against awarding police officers the Congressional Gold Medal for their bravery in protecting the U.S. Capitol against violent, pro-Trump rioters on Jan. 6, refused to shake hands Wednesday with a D.C. police officer who responded to the violence, according to the officer.
As we discussed soon after, then-officer Michael Fanone, who was beaten by the pro-Trump rioters during the attack, introduced himself to Clyde in a Capitol Hill elevator.
The Georgia Republican reportedly refused to shake the officer’s hand and would not engage Fanone in conversation.
Yesterday, however, Clyde presented himself as a great champion of law enforcement. His record, however, appears to be getting in the way.