(Trends Wide)– Republicans are trying to distance themselves from Saturday’s right-wing rally on Capitol Hill, an event that could present a tough perception problem for the party as Democrats plan to link all Republicans to the more extreme elements of the Republican Party.
No active member of Congress is expected to be present at the “Justice for J6” protest in Washington, organized by a former member of Donald Trump’s campaign team in support of the insurgents who were arrested for storming the US Capitol. January 6th.
But even without a presence on the ground, several Republican lawmakers have offered their public support to the insurgents who have been jailed. Meanwhile, Trump’s lies about the 2020 election have become a litmus test in the Republican Party, with 78% of Republicans in a new Trends Wide poll saying that Biden did not win the 2020 election, while Efforts to downplay the deadly events of January 6 have become ubiquitous on the right. And several Republican Congressional candidates participated in the Jan. 6 “Stop the Steal” protest that incited the riots or will speak at the next rally.
The revisionist history that runs through the Republican Party, and that will occupy a central place in Saturday’s demonstration, threatens to become a political drag on the Republican Party, although its operators believe that the economy and inflation will be the most prominent issues in the midterm elections. At the very least, events like this weekend are opening old wounds for the party and putting Republican leaders in an awkward position: They are eager to turn the page on an ugly chapter in their party’s history, but are forced to deal with a fiery base that increasingly sympathizes with the shakers.
Representative Sean Patrick Maloney of New York, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, is already framing next year’s elections in these terms: “Democrats want to move infrastructure and Republicans want to be insurgents.”
House Republicans only need to win five seats to regain a majority, and both historical trends and redistricting maps favor Republicans. Democrats, facing an uphill race in their bid to retain power, are rallying around a midterm strategy that highlights the extremism of the Republican Party in everything from electoral lies and theories. from conspiracy to misinformation about vaccines and strict abortion laws.
Specifically, Democrats are signaling that they plan to paint vulnerable Republican lawmakers as radicals loyal to Trump, especially after the failed effort to impeach the Democratic governor of California on Tuesday, which Maloney argued was a rejection of the Trump brand and the Trump message. Republican Party.
“That should give Kevin McCarthy a chill, who believes he can act toxicly like Trump without the latter’s votes, making that message bad for voters in swing districts,” Maloney said.
Republicans, however, rejected the idea that any broad electoral trends can be extrapolated from the mandate revocation effort in California, where registered Democrats outnumber Republicans nearly 2 to 1.
“The impeachment election will have no impact on the midterm elections and anyone who claims otherwise has no idea what they are talking about,” said Torunn Sinclair, a spokeswoman for the Republican Party’s campaign branch of the House of Representatives, it’s a statement.
Republican leaders have yet to condemn the rally
As Democrats hone their message, law enforcement agencies brace for possible acts of violence and riots this Saturday. The act comes the same week that the U.S. Capitol Police detained a man near the Democratic National Committee headquarters who was speaking white supremacist views and had knives in his truck that are illegal in DC, which recalls the growing threat posed by right-wing extremism and domestic terrorism.
Yet even as the right-wing rally has sparked new fears of political violence, GOP leaders have not publicly condemned the upcoming event and its cause or actively encouraged people to absent, although McCarthy told reporters that they did not. believes that no Republican members will attend and leading Republicans, including Trump, have not promoted the event.
McCarthy has also remained silent after first-year Rep. Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina suggested that a “rigged” election could “lead to a place, and that’s bloodshed” and Rep. Mo Brooks , from Alabama, showed some sympathy for a suspect who claimed to have a bomb in his truck near the Capitol last month and who criticized Democratic lawmakers.
Democrats are amplifying their warnings that the GOP’s continued support for Trump’s electoral lies and other extremist rhetoric could lead to a Jan.6 replay. And Democrats are also criticizing some on the far right for martyring agitator Ashli Babbitt, who was shot to death while trying to break into the Capitol. An internal intelligence memo reviewed by Trends Wide warned that there have been heated discussions online about Babbitt in connection with Saturday’s rally, which Rep. Eric Swalwell has characterized as a Republican celebration of “cop killers.”
Even some in the Republican Party wish their own party did a better job of pointing out the lies about the 2020 election.
“Frankly, I think we need more honesty,” said first-year Rep. Peter Meijer of Michigan, one of 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump for inciting an insurrection, during a recent event. from the Washington Post Live. “We have seen what can be done when individuals feel that a message is being sent to them.”
“They are literally life and death implications,” he added, “and leaders have to be clear about their position and they need to be clear about what they believe.”
Saturday’s rally is expected to be smaller than January 6, but law enforcement is preparing for the possibility of the crowd turning violent or armed. As a precautionary measure, the temporary fencing around the Capitol is being reinstalled, while the Capitol Police requested the help of the National Guard should they need it that day.
Matt Braynard, the organizer of the event, has insisted that it will be peaceful and has encouraged attendees not to wear any clothing related to Trump or the elections. Some of the most disturbing images and videos of January 6 are those of the pro-Trump mob beating police officers with American flag poles.
Saturday’s speaker lineup includes Joe Kent, who is running to unseat Washington State Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, another of 10 Republicans who voted to impeach Trump, and Mike Collins, who is competing to replace to Rep. Jody Hice, a Republican from Georgia who is running for secretary of state after pushing to overturn the results of last year’s presidential elections in Congress. The public appearance of the two congressional candidates, who are facing the Republican Party primaries, suggests that support for the jailed rioters is something they believe could give them a boost with their conservative base.
Although no sitting congressman is in attendance, several House Republicans, including Louie Gohmert of Texas, Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, Matt Gaetz of Florida and Paul Gosar of Arizona, have aligned themselves with a similar cause, referring to the insurgents imprisoned as “political prisoners”.
“I’m not sure I can go [a la manifestación]But we know that there were people who were arrested for the activities of January 6, and they have been very mistreated, “Gohmert told Trends Wide before the break.” So we have not given up. “
Prior to the rally, the four top Congressional leaders received a security briefing from U.S. Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said law enforcement They seem to be better prepared this time.
“Congressional leaders, in a bipartisan and bicameral manner, have been briefed by the Capitol Police Board on the nature of the threat and the unprecedented preparations to deal with another attempt to desecrate our national purpose,” Pelosi said. Wednesday in an open letter to colleagues.
Describing the rally, Pelosi added: “There is a desire on the part of some to continue the assault on the United States Capitol with misinformation and malice. … Working together, we will honor our oath to support and defend the Constitution, as we dedicate ourselves to reconciliation and we passed the legislation For the People. “
– Whitney Wild and Oren Liebermann contributed reporting.