DeSantis plays down Jan. 6 assault on U.S. Capitol
TALLAHASSEE, Florida. – Governor Ron DeSantis on Thursday played down aspects of the storming of the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, adding that he had no intention of looking at ‘sickening’ one-year anniversary memorabilia focused on the media.
Appearing at a press conference in West Palm Beach on the coronavirus pandemic, the Republican governor also drew a comparison between the assault on the Capitol by supporters of former President Donald Trump and a 2017 ideological shooting that injured U.S. Representative Steve Scalise, R-La., and three others.
“You’re going to see the media from DC, New York, I mean, it’s their Christmas, January 6th, OK,” DeSantis said. “They’re going to take this and exploit everything they can to try to smear anyone who has ever supported Donald Trump.”
DeSantis then pointed to the shooting of Scalise and three others in 2017 during practice for the annual Congressional baseball game.
“It was like a one-day, two-day story,” DeSantis said. “It wasn’t something the Capitol-based press wanted to talk about. Why? Because it totally undermined their favorite narratives.”
DeSantis, a congressman at the time, left the field shortly before the shooting of a left-wing Illinois political activist.
The governor said people should be held accountable for the riots, but he rejected labeling those who stormed the Capitol as terrorists and dismissed descriptions of the events as an insurrection. Trump supporters forced their way into the Capitol in an attempt to stop Congress from voting to confirm Democratic President Joe Biden’s victory over Trump in the November 2020 election.
“Let’s be clear here, when they try to act like it looks like the 9/11 attacks, it’s an insult to the people who walk into these buildings,” DeSantis said.
“And it’s an insult to people when you say it’s an insurrection, and then a year later nobody’s been charged with this (crime),” DeSantis continued. “People are accused of disrupting proceedings or (things like) that. I think it’s very important that if that’s what you said, why don’t you accuse people? So, I think it’s going to end up being just a politicized Charlie Foxtrot today.”
Of more than 700 people arrested in the assault on the Capitol, 76 are from Florida. The charges range from entering restricted areas of the legislative building to conspiracy.
As DeSantis spoke to reporters, Democrats across the country issued statements condemning the assault.
U.S. Rep. Al Lawson, D-Fla., called the attack “shameful.”
“We’ve seen it in other countries but not here,” Lawson said. “However, this riot happened before our eyes. The insurrection was orchestrated by the Americans, his daughter, his staff and his advisers asked President Trump to call off the assault and he did nothing to prevent it. Instead, he helped incite the violence that occurred on that tragic day.”
Florida Democratic Party Chairman Manny Diaz said elected leaders must stand up against “the hate, lies and extremism that led to the vicious attack on our Capitol.”
“I pray that our justice system will not shy away from holding those responsible accountable for their ruthless acts, the heartache they have caused to Capitol Police families, including those who survived, and the lasting damage to our principles of our democracy,” Diaz said in a statement. “I pray that we will all work together — Democrats, Republicans and Independents — in the name of the common good to restore decency, honor and respect for the rule of law.”
At the Capitol’s Statuary Hall, President Joe Biden said the events of January 6, 2021, cannot be buried because those involved in the attack were part of an “armed insurgency,” where a president who lost a election “tried to prevent the peaceful transition of power.
“The former President of the United States of America created and spread a web of lies about the 2020 election,” Biden said. “He did it because he values power over principle, because he considers his own interest to be more important than his country’s interest, America’s interest, and because his bruised ego means more to him than our democracy and our Constitution.”
But DeSantis, who is widely seen as a potential 2024 presidential candidate, has dismissed an ongoing investigation by a US House select committee as being ineffectively used for “posturing purposes”.
“It’s not something that has concerned me in my job here because, quite frankly, it’s not something that most Floridians are concerned about,” DeSantis said. “They’re worried about their jobs, their education, inflation, gas prices, all those things.”
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