On Jan. 6, 2021, MAGA Republicans stormed the U.S. Capitol and attacked our democracy after Donald Trump spent his last weeks in office pushing dangerous and unhinged conspiracy theories about the 2020 election in a desperate attempt to cling to power. In the 17 months since the insurrection, Illinois Republicans have downplayed the attack that took place on Jan. 6 in a ploy to rewrite history, cater to the ultra-MAGA vote, and help Donald Trump avoid accountability for that dark day.
In one of the gubernatorial “debates,” Republicans Max Solomon and Paul Schimpf agreed that attack on the U.S. Capitol was not an “insurrection.” Richard Irvin, of course, refused to answer questions about Jan. 6. Meanwhile, far-right candidate for governor Darren Bailey was caught working with someone arrested for participating in the riots.
The situation isn’t much better for Congressional candidates. Of the more than 20 suburban Republicans running for Congress, only one rejected the Republican National Committee’s characterization of January 6 as “legitimate political discourse.” Downstate candidates like Esther Joy King have dodged too, refusing to say if they agree with the RNC.
Republican candidates have no shortage of absurd claims to downplay the insurrection. Excuses range from the U.S. Capitol Police being coached “to make it appear that the Capitol was under siege” to claims that the rioters were “mostly peaceful” or that the riot was simply “a poor decision by groups of average middle-class Americans” or just the fault of “a few bad apples.”
And then of course there is Republican Mary Miller, who famously quoted Hitler on Jan. 5 before her husband’s truck was found parked with a militia bumper sticker outside the capitol during the riot, who said the Jan. 6 commission simply “hates President Trump.”
And while their candidates fall further down the ultra-MAGA rabbit hole, the Illinois Republican Party refuses to make a peep.
No matter the disgraceful excuses from MAGA Republicans, the people of Illinois deserve truth about the attack on our democracy. Tonight’s hearing is an important step toward uncovering the full story, once and for all.