- Bernie Sanders blasted Republicans for blocking a January 6 commission.
- Sanders said many Republicans are “too intimidated by Trump to do the right thing.”
- “It is a painful day for American democracy,” Sanders said.
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Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont on Friday ripped into his Republican colleagues in the Senate who blocked a bipartisan bill to authorize the establishment a commission on the fatal January 6 insurrection at the US Capitol.
“It is a painful day for American democracy that Senate Republicans blocked legislation creating a commission to investigate the Jan. 6th insurrection. Today in America, democracy is under assault and authoritarianism, conspiracy theories and political violence are on the rise,” Sanders said in a statement.
“I applaud the six Republicans who voted for the commission, but I am saddened that so many others are too intimidated by Trump to do the right thing,” Sanders added.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer also criticized Republicans for derailing the bill.
“Shame on the Republican Party for trying to sweep the horrors of that day under the rug because they’re afraid of Donald Trump,” Schumer said on Friday.
-MSNBC (@MSNBC) May 28, 2021
Former President Donald Trump vehemently opposed setting up a January 6 commission. “Republicans in the House and Senate should not approve the Democrat trap of the January 6 Commission,” he said in a statement. “Republicans must get much tougher and much smarter, and stop being used by the Radical Left.”
The 10-member commission would’ve had subpoena power to gather information about the deadly attack. It would’ve been similar to the 9/11 commission, with the bill mandating the release of a final report by the end of the year with findings on the causes of the riot and recommendations on how to prevent similar attacks on the future.
The bill, which passed in the House with the support of 35 GOP lawmakers, didn’t garner the 60 votes necessary to overcome a Republican filibuster in the upper chamber. On Friday, a motion to invoke cloture and advance the bill was defeated in a 54-35 vote. Just six Senate Republicans joined Democrats to vote in favor of advancing the bill.
Though a number of Republicans supported the bill, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell both came out against it. Republicans opposed the bill because they worried a January 6 commission would hurt their chances in the 2022 midterms by keeping the focus on Trump and his role in provoking the insurrection.
“They would like to continue to litigate the former president into the future,” McConnell said at a news conference on. Tuesday. “We think the American people going forward and in the fall of ’22 ought to focus on what this administration is doing to the country.”
Both McConnell and McCarthy were initially heavily critical of Trump over the Capitol attack. The House GOP leader said Trump bore responsibility for the events that day, while McConnell excoriated the former president for a “disgraceful dereliction of duty.”
Trump incited the Capitol riot via repeated lies about the result of the 2020 election. He falsely and repeatedly claimed that the election was stolen, pushing baseless assertions of mass voter fraud. The former president was impeached for a second time in mid-January for provoking the deadly insurrection. Five people died during or shortly after the attack, including a Capitol Police officer.
Despite criticizing Trump’s actions, McCarthy opposed impeaching him and McConnell ultimately voted to acquit the former president.
Trump in his post-presidency has persisted in falsely insisting that he won the 2020 election, and polling has consistently shown that a majority of Republicans falsely believe that President Joe Biden did not legitimately win. There’s no evidence of mass voter fraud regarding the election. Voter fraud in the US is extraordinarily rare.
Republican lawmakers in Washington have continued to exhibit unwavering loyalty to Trump, as evidenced by Friday’s vote on the January 6 commission as well as the recent ouster of GOP Rep. Liz Cheney as the number three Republican in the House. Cheney refused to endorse Trump’s “big lie” about the election, and was ostracized as a result.