Rep. Matt Gaetz seen at the Capitol Hill Club on Wednesday, December 1, 2021.
Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images
- Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz said he’s “proud” of the GOP’s work on January 6, 2021.
- He called Trump supporters who stormed the Capitol to stop the transfer of power “patriotic Americans.”
- He also falsely claimed they had “no intent of breaking the law or doing violence.”
Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz said on Thursday that he was “proud” of the work Republicans did on January 6, 2021 — the day of the deadly Capitol insurrection — and that the Trump supporters who went to the Capitol that day were “patriotic.”
“We’re ashamed of nothing,” Gaetz said during an appearance with Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene on former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon’s podcast. “We’re proud of the work we did on January 6 to make legitimate arguments about election integrity.”
“So we’re going to make those arguments today … and we’re actually going to go walk the grounds that patriotic Americans walked from the White House to the Capitol, who had no intent of breaking the law or doing violence,” he added.
Gaetz went on to suggest, without evidence, that many of the rioters “were trapped” and that those who trapped them “have not been held to account.”
Gaetz, who is under a federal sex-trafficking investigation, was among Trump’s most loyal attack dogs on Capitol Hill and joined most of his House Republican colleagues in objecting to Congress’ certification of Joe Biden’s victory. His claim that those who stormed the Capitol on January 6 had “no intent of breaking the law or doing violence” is untrue.
- One Reuters photographer said he overheard at least pro-Trump rioters say they wanted to hang then Vice President Mike Pence from a Capitol tree because he refused to carry out Trump’s bidding.
- The photographer said “many more” rioters were discussing executing Pence, and several were captured on video chanting to “hang Mike Pence.”
- Prosecutors said several rioters went to the Capitol armed with stun guns, pepper spray, baseball bats, and flag poles that were used as clubs.
- Other Trump supporters were photographed and captured on video in tactical gear while roaming the Capitol armed with items including zip ties and handcuffs, which prosecutors said could have been used “to restrain and/or detain subjects.”
- Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick died one day after two rioters sprayed him with what prosecutors said was an “unknown chemical substance.” The Washington medical examiner later determined that he died as a result of multiple strokes that happened hours after he fought the pro-Trump mob, but that “all that transpired played a role in his condition.”
- Washington, DC Metropolitan Officer Michael Fanone was seen being dragged down the Capitol steps, beaten with a flagpole, and tasered by Trump supporters. He suffered a heart attack as a result of the confrontation, which he said was “the most brutal, savage hand-to-hand combat of my entire life.”
- According to a New York Times tally, about 150 law enforcement officers suffered injuries that included cracked ribs, shattered spinal disks, and gouged eyes as a result of the Capitol riot, and hundreds more were traumatized by the mob.
Attorney General Merrick Garland said this week that the Justice Department’s investigation into the events at the Capitol and their aftermath is “one of the largest, most complex, and most resource-intensive investigations in our history.”
In all, Garland said the department has:
- Issued more than 5,000 subpoenas and search warrants;
- Seized about 2,000 devices;
- Gone through more than 20,000 hours of video footage;
- Searched through about 15 terrabytes of data;
- Received more than 300,000 tips;
- Arrested and charged more than 725 defendants across nearly all 50 states and Washington, DC;
- Charged about 325 defendants with felonies.
This story is developing. Check back for updates.
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