Republicans Who Back the ‘Big Lie’ Named to Capitol Riot Commission

That's awkward.
July 20, 2021, 3:47pm
Pro-Trump supporters storm the U.S. Capitol following a rally with President Donald Trump on January 6, 2021 in Washington, D.C.
Pro-Trump supporters storm the U.S. Capitol following a rally with President Donald Trump on January 6, 2021 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Getty Images)

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As pro-Trump rioters stormed the Capitol on January 6, Liz Cheney had some choice words for Jim Jordan.

“Get away from me. You fucking did this,” Cheney, a Wyoming Republican, said to Jordan after he offered to help her during the riots, she recently told two Washington Post reporters.

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Now she and the Ohio Republican may be serving on the same committee to investigate the insurrection.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy showed exactly how little he supports ongoing investigations into the January 6 Capitol riots by naming Jordan, one of President Trump’s closest allies, as one of his five picks for the committee.

Both McCarthy and Jordan have kept up close contact with former President Donald Trump. Jordan has said he regularly talks to Trump, while McCarthy most recently traveled to kiss the former president’s ring last week, meeting the former president at his Bedminster, N.J. golf course.

And the pair are in a potentially awkward spot, as both seemingly talked to Trump on the day of the riot. Some Democrats want to call them as possible witnesses to get a better sense of what Trump did and didn’t do as his supporters led an insurrection in his name.

Cheney is one of the few House Republicans who’s consistently criticized Trump for his role in inciting the January 6 riots. That criticism got her tossed out of House Republican leadership—but earned her a spot on the January 6 special committee from Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Jordan, on the other hand, has made clear for months that he doesn’t think much of further investigations into the riots.

“I think this commission is ridiculous, and why would they subpoena me? I didn’t do anything wrong—I talked to the president,” Jordan said in May. “I talk to the president all the time. I just think that’s—you know where I’m at on this commission—this is all about going after President Trump. That seems obvious.”

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And he played a role in ousting Cheney from GOP leadership for daring to continually criticize Trump.

“That fucking guy Jim Jordan,” Cheney said, two Washington Post journalists report in their upcoming book. “That son of a bitch.”

Jordan’s not the actual GOP lead on the committee, however. That honor goes to Indiana Rep. Jim Banks, who accused Pelosi of creating the committee “solely to malign conservatives and to justify the Left's authoritarian agenda” in his statement announcing he’d serve on it.

“I will do everything possible to give the American people the facts about the lead up to January 6, the riot that day, and the responses from Capitol leadership and the Biden administration,” Banks continued, seeming to falsely suggest it was Biden and not Trump who was president on January 6. “I will not allow this committee to be turned into a forum for condemning millions of Americans because of their political beliefs.”

Banks, the head of the conservative Republican Study Committee, voted against certifying Biden’s election victory in two states just hours after the insurrection was finally put down by Capitol police. He also pushed to remove Cheney from GOP leadership, and made a brief, ill-fated attempt to replace her, before the House GOP conference rallied around New York Rep. Elise Stefanik.

The other members of the committee picked by McCarthy include Illinois Rep. Rodney Davis (Ill.), North Dakota Rep. Kelly Armstrong (N.D.) and Texas Rep. Troy Nehls. Davis. Davis and Armstrong voted to certify Biden’s election victory. Nehls voted against certification. But during the attacks, the former sheriff helped Capitol police convince rioters not to try to break onto the House floor. He later called the riots a “disgrace.”

Pelosi has the power to accept or reject McCarthy’s nominees, and could decide to nix these members. It’s unclear at this point what she’ll do.

The Democratic-led committee only exists in the first place because McCarthy, at Trump’s urging, torpedoed a bipartisan agreement for a blue-ribbon commission to investigate the causes of the January 6 insurrection.

Jordan and McCarthy were once foes—Jordan was instrumental in blocking McCarthy from becoming House speaker in 2015, and ran against him for GOP leader in late 2018. But McCarthy has found it increasingly useful to bear-hug both Jordan and Trump in his quest to become House speaker after the 2022 midterm elections.