Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA) surprised political observers on the House floor on Wednesday by comparing concerned parents at school board meetings to January 6 rioters. Watch:
“January 6, 2021 will never be forgotten an infamous day in American history,” Johnson began. “MAGA Republicans descended upon the capitol engaged in an insurrection. They occupied the capitol, five people were killed, hundreds injured, including hundreds of Capitol Hill police officers attacked and bludgeoned. It was a day that we will never forget.”
“And people on the local level at affected school board meetings, they won’t forget the MAGA Republicans descending on their school board meetings,” Johnson went on. “After January 6th, like January 6th, disrupting meetings, it was a coordinated attack happening across the country. Americans won’t forget about it. School board members, teachers, administrators, subjected to violence, threats of violence, harassment, intimidation and in response to that, the National School Board’s Association sent a letter to the Biden administration seeking federal help.”
“Things had gotten so far out of hand, and by the way, there’s not one scintilla of evidence, either direct or indirect, that there was any coordination between the Biden administration and the National School Boards Association that caused that letter to be sent, seeking federal assistance.”
There are almost too many lies to rebut in a short span. Hank Johnson, first of all, lies that ‘five people were killed’ on January 6. One person was killed, Trump supporter Ashli Babbitt; one Capitol Police Officer, Brian Sicknick, died of natural causes; and three Capitol Police officers reportedly committed suicide.
This big lie that “MAGA supporters,” meaning the political extremists that descended on the capitol for diverse reasons, including an effort to ignite a ‘civil war,’ killed people on January 6 is not exclusive to Rep. Johnson or even Democrats, for that matter.
In an article in The Hill about former President Donald Trump’s promise to pardon Jan. 6 protesters if he were to again become president was slammed by Republicans, such as Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and Sen. Mike Rounds (R-SD), who perpetuated the myth that non-Trump supporters were killed in the riot.
“If he were elected, he would have a constitutional ability to do it,” Rounds said. “I would disagree with it. I think there was insurrection and I think these folks need to be punished.”
“I was there. This was truly violent. People were injured, people were killed. I have very little mercy for the individuals that were involved in that activity that day,” Rounds added.
That it a lie. Additionally, there is no substantive evidence that the January 6 rioters were attempting to “overturn the last election.” There was no realistic mechanism for doing so and the rioters inside of the Capitol building did not carry firearms.
“The FBI has found scant evidence that the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol was the result of an organized plot to overturn the presidential election result, according to four current and former law enforcement officials,” Reuters reported in August.
“Though federal officials have arrested more than 570 alleged participants, the FBI at this point believes the violence was not centrally coordinated by far-right groups or prominent supporters of then-President Donald Trump, according to the sources, who have been either directly involved in or briefed regularly on the wide-ranging investigations,” Reuters continued.
“Ninety to ninety-five percent of these are one-off cases,” said a former senior law enforcement official with knowledge of the investigation. “Then you have five percent, maybe, of these militia groups that were more closely organized. But there was no grand scheme with Roger Stone and Alex Jones and all of these people to storm the Capitol and take hostages.”
Despite the media’s persistence in claiming that January 6 was an “insurrection,” one will find no such charges for this federal crime after a search of the Justice Department’s documents. Nor will one find defendants charged for carrying firearms into the Capitol building during the purported effort to forcibly ‘overturn’ the results of the election. One will not find charges for homicide, murder, or manslaughter; again, only the unarmed Trump supporter Ashli Babbitt was killed in the riot. Most of the charges are tantamount to trespassing on federal property.
Liberal constitutional attorney Jonathan Turley has effectively argued that “insurrection” is a misleading description of what occurred on January 6.
“While the majority of people who went to the Capitol were protesters and did not engage in the riot, there were some who sought to physically disrupt or prevent the certification, including the use of violent entry into the Capitol.”
“Yet, there remains a striking contrast in how other riots are characterized or prosecuted,” the attorney continued. “Most of those arrested for violent protests after the death of George Floyd saw their charges dropped by state prosecutors. For months, rioters sought to burn federal buildings or occupy state capitals and, in some cases, seized police stations, sections of cities, even occupied a city hall. They were not declared insurrectionists; they were rioters before being set free after brief arrests.”
“Many of us remain disgusted and angered by the Jan. 6 riot — but it was a riot,” Turley concluded.
As for the National School Boards Association, in October it apologized to parents over the Biden Justice Department’s targeting of concerned parents at school board meetings.
“As you know, there has been extensive media and other attention recently around our letter to President Biden regarding threats and acts of violence against school board members,” the NSBA’s letter to members began. “We wanted to write to you directly to address this matter.”
“On behalf of NSBA, we regret and apologize for the letter,” the letter said. “To be clear, the safety of school board members, other public school officials and educators, and students is our top priority, and there remains important work to be done on this issue.”
“However, there was no justification for some of the language included in the letter,” the NSBA continued. “We should have a better process in place to allow for consultation on a communication of this significance. We apologize also for the strain and stress this situation has caused you and your organizations.”
The NSBA letter was held up by Attorney General Merrick Garland in an October 4 memorandum that announced the FBI would be dispersed to coordinate with local law enforcement on handling parents concerned about radical indoctrination programs in public schools and to treat them as akin to ‘domestic terrorists.’
"*" indicates required fields
OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion.