Republican Rejection of Riot Commission Suggests They Never Truly Thought Antifa Participated

Walter Rhein
Photo by Louis Velazquez on Unsplash

In the months following the January 6th insurrection, many prominent Republicans suggested they believed the rioters had been infiltrated by Antifa to make Trump look bad. However, due to the fact that Republican senators blocked the commission to investigate the insurrection, it can be interpreted that no Republican actually believed these claims.

In the months following January 6th, Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson was among those prominent individuals who used the platform of his office to forward the Antifa theory even in the absence of factual evidence.

Specifically, Johnson used his questioning time to read a Federalist article into the record claiming that the pro-Trump rally was “festive” before being interrupted by “provocateurs” and “fake” Trump supporters. The author of the Federalist article, J. Michael Waller, wrote that he assumed some participants “to be Antifa or other leftist agitators.”—Arya Hodjat, Johnson Pushes Deranged ‘Fake Trump Supporters’ Theory During Capitol Riot Hearing

Johnson had already contradicted himself on this matter in another interview when he said he wasn’t worried about the rioters specifically because he didn’t believe them to be Antifa.

"Now, had the tables been turned -- Joe, this could get me in trouble -- had the tables been turned, and President Trump won the election and those were tens of thousands of Black Lives Matter and Antifa protesters, I might have been a little concerned," Johnson continued—Caroline Kelly, Ron Johnson says he might have been concerned for safety had Capitol rioters been BLM and Antifa

So, in the course of a few weeks Johnson suggested that the rioters might have been members of Antifa, and he also made the assurance that he wasn’t scared of the rioters because he knew they weren’t Antifa. Now, he’s voted against a commission that would have provided further insight into the identities and motivation of those involved in the riot.

Ron Johnson was one of the 35 Senators who voted against the January 6th commission on Friday, May 28th, 2021.

It can be inferred that the Republican senators who voted against the commission did not believe Antifa members were involved in the riots. If Republican Senators truly believed that Antifa members participated, then it would be in their interests to support the commission so that these claims could possibly be supported.

Based on the way Republican senators have voted, it’s perplexing to consider previous accusations of the participation of Antifa. Many Republicans go on record deriding the dangers of Antifa, so why would they fail to support an investigation?

Blocking the January 6th commission also does not align with a stated philosophy of respect for law and order or law enforcement in general. Other people who are disappointed in Republican behavior on this matter include the mother of Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick.

The mother of fallen US Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick says she was disappointed that Senate Republicans blocked a bill Friday to create a bipartisan commission to investigate the January 6 insurrection after what she described as "tense" meetings with many GOP senators on Thursday—Jeremy Herb, Exclusive: 'All talk and no action': Sicknick's mother and girlfriend say they were disappointed by GOP senators

The Republican decision to block the January 6th commission does not appear to be an act that supports law enforcement or any intellectually honest pursuit to discover the truth of what transpired on that unfortunate day.

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Walter Rhein is an author with Perseid Press. He also does a weekly column for The Writing Cooperative on Medium.

Chippewa Falls, WI

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