Kevin McCarthy Names Insurrection Pals To January 6 Commission, For Balance
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy has named five Republican House members to the Select Committee that will investigate the January 6 insurrection. Following the deadly invasion of the US Capitol on that day, three of McCarthy's five picks nonetheless voted against certifying the 2020 election. Having people on the commission who shared the goals of the insurrectionists seems only fair. After all, didn't the 9/11 Commission include several members of al Qaeda?
That McCarthy named anyone to be on the committee (I almost typed "serve," what a silly fellow I am!) is itself likely to piss off some of the more flammable members of the Trump coalition, because isn't that playing right into Nancy Pelosi's hands and giving too much legitimacy to this witch hunt for Q Shamans? But McCarthy apparently decided it would be better to have his people inside the tent pissing on reality than to have a committee made up solely of people who'd focus on facts.
We should point out right up front that because the legislation setting up the select committee says GOP members would be appointed "in consultation with the minority leader," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has the option of vetoing any or all of McCarthy's picks, which she should damn well do. If McCarthy can't find five members who didn't vote to overthrow democracy, that's too bad.
McCarthy's picks include Reps. Jim Banks of Indiana, Kelly Armstrong of North Dakota, Rodney Davis of Illinois, Jim Jordan of Ohio, and first-term Rep. Troy Nehls of Texas. CNN has a quick rundown of how they behaved following the election and the insurrection:
Banks, Jordan and Nehls were among the 139 House Republicans who voted to overturn the 2020 presidential results in Arizona and Pennsylvania. Davis and Armstrong voted to certify the presidential election.
Banks and Jordan were also part of the group of Republicans to sign onto the Texas lawsuit that sought to invalidate the ballots of millions of voters in four battleground states, but was swiftly blocked by the Supreme Court.
As you'd expect, the very best people. McCarthy claimed he'd selected the members to represent the full range of GOP opinions in the House, from A to A-and-a-half:
"You've got a mix from the entire conference, from people who objected, people who didn't object. … You've got people who authored the commission," McCarthy told reporters. "So, you've got a microcosm of the conference."
We have no idea what he meant by "authored the commission," since the only Republican who did that was John Katko (R-New York), who co-wrote the independent commission bill with Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Mississippi). After McCarthy shafted him by complaining the independent commission was too "partisan," Katko then preemptively refused to serve on the select committee, because he knows what a hot stove is.
CNN notes that Davis voted for the commission, so perhaps McCarthy just misread "authorized" or was lying.
Jordan, whose sole function in life is to be an asshole in televised hearings, immediately got to work attacking the panel to which he'd been named. Asked what Rs on the select committee wanted to accomplish, he replied, "You know what this is about. This is about going after President Trump. The Democrats don't want to talk about anything else."
One would certainly be very cynical if one were to think McCarthy might have named Jordan to the committee mostly so Pelosi could veto his appointment, which would bolster the Right's insistence that the whole thing is a partisan show trial. And if she doesn't nix him and the two other pro-insurrection votes, she's still stuck with obstreperous assholes.
Banks, who'll serve as the ranking GOP member on the select committee, offered equally florid hymns to bipartisan cooperation. In a statement, Banks echoed the standard GOP line that any investigation of January 6 should actually not be only about January 6:
If Democrats were serious about investigating political violence, this committee would be studying not only the January 6 riot at the Capitol, but also the hundreds of violent political riots last summer when many more innocent Americans and law-enforcement officers were attacked. … Make no mistake, Nancy Pelosi created this committee solely to malign conservatives and to justify the Left's authoritarian agenda.
Banks also insisted that his goal would be to
force the Democrats and the media to answer questions so far ignored. Among them, why was the Capitol unprepared and vulnerable to attack on January 6?
The committee's authorizing legislation already makes clear those questions will be part of the investigation, so good for Rep. Banks, we guess. He probably just wants to get to the bottom of why it took hours for the National Guard to show up, we bet.
Democrat Bennie Thompson, who'll chair the committee, was diplomatic about McCarthy's choices, noting that the final choice was up to Pelosi. He turned around a question about whether he'd be able to work with Jordan if he ends up on the committee: "Well, the question is, I am the committee chairman, and I hope he can work with me?"
Thompson also said it "would have been nice" if McCarthy had seen fit to name any women to the committee; Politico points out, however, that it's possible McCarthy simply couldn't find any who wanted the job, or who wanted it in ways that wouldn't embarrass him. Donald Trump wanted Elise Stefanik, but McCarthy passed on her.
Typically McCarthy tries to ensure women are represented in leadership and on panels. This makes us think none of the GOP women wanted the job — with the exception of Marjorie Taylor Greene (Ga.) and Lauren Boebert (Colo.), but McCarthy was not going there.
The select committee will get to work next week hearing testimony from members of the Capitol and DC Police; we're looking forward to Jim Jordan demanding they explain why they did nothing to prevent the looting of that Target store in Minneapolis following the murder of George Floyd.
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