Former GOP chairman outraged by Republican visit to Jan. 6 rioters

Michael Steele, the former chairman of the Republican National Committee (RNC), criticized House Republicans for visiting a jail where the Jan. 6 defendants are being held.

A bipartisan group of lawmakers serving on the House Oversight and Accountability Committee visited the jail in Washington, DC on Friday. The visit reignited criticism from some over the GOP’s response to the January 6, 2021 riot at the United States Capitol, which saw a group of former President Donald Trump’s supporters violently protest in an unsuccessful attempt to force Congress to block President Joe Biden’s Electoral College. victory.

Some Republicans have condemned the treatment of these defendants, arguing that they are being unfairly detained for political purposes. Critics, however, accused GOP lawmakers of siding with rioters who sought to block the peaceful transfer of power after the 2020 presidential election.

“We need to work as hard as we can to defund the two-tiered ‘system of injustice,'” Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Republican from Georgia who has expressed concern about their treatment, said at a press conference after visit. “And we must return the freedom and due process rights to these January 6 defendants before trial.”

House Republicans are seen after a visit to a Washington, DC jail where the Jan. 6 defendants were being held on Friday. Inset, former Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairman Michael Steele. Steele expressed outrage Friday at the jail visit by GOP lawmakers, which saw some Republicans express concern over the treatment of the defendants.
Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images for the Congressional Integrity Project; NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images

The visit drew backlash from Steele, who served as RNC chairman from 2009 to 2011 but became critical of GOP leadership after Trump was elected in 2016. Steele, while filling in on MSNBC All with Chris Hayes, stressed his opposition to the GOP position on the Jan. 6 defendants.

“I have to start with a question for the Republican Party today. What is wrong with you? Today, House MAGA Republicans paid an official visit, sanctioned by the leadership of the gone, to visit the January 6 insurgents, whom they call political prisoners,” Steele said. .

He accused Republicans of “wasting” their energy on “the violent insurgent mob,” also calling out House leaders for authorizing the trip.

“This whole sad show of support from the insurgent comes from the top of the Republican Party. Just look at what Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy was doing yesterday. He met Ashli ​​Babbitt’s mother , the insurgent who sadly lost her life while bidding on Donald Trump in January,” Steele added.

Following the visit, Democratic and Republican lawmakers expressed differing views on the conditions experienced by the defendants.

Representative Byron Donalds, a Republican from Florida, in remarks to reporters after the prison tour, raised concerns that some defendants did not receive bail hearings during their trials.

“Constitutional rights must be protected for all Americans. You cannot choose based on your political views,” he said.

Representative Robert Garcia, a California Democrat, however, said Republicans acted “in shame” in a statement after the visit.

“Marjorie Taylor Greene is already telling lies about the conditions of the facility and saying there was no insurrection on January 6,” Garcia said. “When we saw the detainees, my fellow Republicans rushed up to them and treated them like celebrities rather than people who attacked our police force in the capital and our very democracy. The actions of our fellow Republicans at the inside the establishment and their lies about the visit are disgraceful.”

Newsweek contacted the offices of Greene and McCarthy for comment via email.


Not all news on the site expresses the point of view of the site, but we transmit this news automatically and translate it through programmatic technology on the site and not from a human editor.


"Writer. Coffee practitioner. Twitter specialist. Food trailblazer. Subtly charming analyst. Troublemaker. Unable to type with boxing gloves on."
Back to top button