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Top Senate Republican says Americans don’t need ‘alternative versions’ of January 6 Capitol attack


Sen. Roy Blunt, a member of GOP leadership, argued on Sunday that Americans don’t need “alternative versions” of what occurred the day of the US Capitol insurrection, pushing back on Republican Sen. Ron Johnson’s comments that mischaracterize the riot and its participants.

“We don’t need to try and explain away or come up with alternative versions. We all saw what happened,” Blunt told NBC’s “Meet the Press” of January 6, when a mob of former President Donald Trump supporters stormed the Capitol in an attempt to stop Congress from certifying the 2020 election, clashed with law enforcement, ransacked congressional offices and threatened the lives of then-Vice President Mike Pence and lawmakers.

Calling January 6 “a terrible day for America,” the Missouri Republican said, “I think it was absolutely unacceptable and we can’t let that kind of thing be repeated again in our country.”

Johnson on Saturday falsely claimed there was no violence on the Senate side of the US Capitol during the attack, and earlier this month he said he “never really felt threatened” and “wasn’t concerned” during the riot because he believed the rioters were “people that love this country, that truly respect law enforcement, would never do anything to break the law.”

The Wisconsin Republican has made several comments downplaying the severity of the Capitol attack, including previously saying that he didn’t believe that what occurred was “armed insurrection.” Johnson has also pushed the conspiracy theory that there were professional provocateurs within the mob at the Capitol — despite the FBI having said there was no evidence Antifa or any other groups of leftist instigators were part of the crowd.

Former President George W. Bush, a Republican, told the Texas Tribune that he was “sick to my stomach … to see our nation’s Capitol being stormed by hostile forces.”

On Sunday, Blunt told NBC that he is “much more in agreement” with Bush’s view of what occurred on January 6.

While talks to form an independent 9/11-style commission to investigate the riot have stalled, Blunt, as the Senate Rules Committee’s top Republican, argued that Congress could “move forward and make the changes that need to be made” to Capitol security.

“Congress itself has the capacity here to move forward,” Blunt said. “That doesn’t mean I’m opposed to a commission, but frankly I believe that the commission would probably be a reason to wait and not do the things that we know we need to do right now.”

Blunt announced earlier this month he would not seek reelection.

Article Topic Follows: National Politics

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