Dem Rep. Jamie Raskin Takes GOP Rep. Andrew Clyde On ‘Normal Tourist Visit’ To Woodshed
Andrew Clyde, perhaps competing for the title of Georgia's worst US House representative, declared in May, in front of everyone, that the January 6 insurrection wasn't an insurrection at all. He didn't try to downplay the Trump-inspired attack on democracy as simply a “riot." No, he compared it to a “normal tourist visit."
During Tuesday's select committee hearing, Rep. Jamie Raskin from Maryland asked Officer Daniel Hodges what he thought of Clyde's insulting description of the horrific events Hodges will likely never forget.
Officer Hodges reads U.S. Code definition of domestic terrorism to explain why he calls Capitol rioters "terrorists… https://t.co/hGjRBc3Dyv— CBS News (@CBS News) 1627404325.0
RASKIN: You referred to “terrorism" or “terrorists" 15 different times to describe the people who were assaulting officers, dragging them through the crowd, stealing their weapons, smashing them over the head, gouging eyes and so on. However, some of our colleagues have been calling the violent insurrectionists not “terrorists" but tourists. Why do you call them “terrorists" and what do you think of our colleagues who call them “tourists"?
Struggling to contain his rage, Hodges' response was perfect gallows humor, which is fitting considering Clyde's tourists erected a makeshift gallows outside the Capitol.
HODGES: If that's what American tourists are like, I can see why foreign countries don't like American tourists.
Later Tuesday night, at a Rules Committee meeting, Raskin confronted Clyde directly. He asked if Clyde had watched the testimony from officers who defended his miserable life. Clyde dismissed the question as irrelevant, meaning he was too much of a coward to answer simply “yes" or “no."
But Raskin pressed on and asked Clyde if he stood by his absurd statement that the Capitol insurrectionists were just aggressive “tourists." Clyde demanded that Raskin quote his exact words, so everyone present could revel in his craven ignorance. Raskin obliged:
"Watching the TV footage of those who entered the Capitol and walked through Statuary Hall showed people in an orderly fashion staying between the stanchions and ropes, taking videos and pictures. You know, if you didn't know the TV footage was a video from January the 6th, you would actually think it was a normal tourist visit."
Clyde hung his head to hear his own words quoted by the Spirit, and was overcome with penitence and grief ... no, wait, that was Ebenezer Scrooge, who had a human soul capable of redemption. No, Clyde defiantly said, “I stand by that exact statement as I said it."
RASKIN: Do you agree or disagree with the officers who spent four or five hours battling that medieval mob that had baseball bats and lead pipes ... Do you stand behind your statement that the people they were fighting were tourists? Or would you agree with them that they were terrorists.
CLYDE: That statement did not say that those people were tourists. Read the statement.
It's true that Clyde used the word “tourist" as an adjective and not a noun. He's very precise about his gross language. He accused Raskin of misquoting him and eventually just shouted, "You want to make this another January 6th hearing, and this is not! This is the Rules Committee!"
Raskin is justifiably cranky about the January 6 "tourist visit" gone bad. His son had died a week earlier, and his daughter who accompanied him to the Capitol to witness a supposedly peaceful transfer of power wound up hiding from a deranged man's violent mob. The experience traumatized her, but Republicans like Clyde feel it necessary to minimize that trauma. They have midterms coming up.
@kylegriffin1 Rep. Andrew Clyde - who compared January 6 to a "normal tourist visit" -was photographed barricading… https://t.co/QJP0s4x0fx— KD (@KD) 1623929753.0
The Rules Committee Chair, Jim McGovern, interjected several times to ask that everyone “lower the decibel," but it's important that Raskin shared his righteous anger. There's no polite way to engage with Republicans who want to ignore a domestic terror attack on the Capitol. Clyde is the same jackass who voted against awarding medals to the Capitol Police who fought off Trump's thugs. He'd only consider Louie Gohmert's counter proposal that would award congressional medals to the officers for their bravery during an unnamed event that occurred on an unmentioned day.
No matter how many offramps Raskin offered him, Clyde was determined to remain on the cowardice expressway. He's reprehensible, and he's typical of his party.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. Once, he wrote a novel called “Mahogany Slade,” which you should read or at least buy. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."