US Capitol Riots: Top Republicans mark Jan. 6 with silence, deflection

Republican congressmen Matt Gaetz (R-FL) and Marjorie watch of the January 6, 2021 attack on the US Capitol by supporters of then US President Donald Trump. (Getty Images/AFP)
Republican congressmen Matt Gaetz (R-FL) and Marjorie watch of the January 6, 2021 attack on the US Capitol by supporters of then US President Donald Trump. (Getty Images/AFP)
Short Url
Updated 07 January 2022

US Capitol Riots: Top Republicans mark Jan. 6 with silence, deflection

US Capitol Riots: Top Republicans mark Jan. 6 with silence, deflection
  • Only two Republicans were present in the House chamber: Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, who has become a pariah in her party over her criticism of Trump’s actions, and her father, former Vice President Dick Cheney

NEW YORK: Oh, how things have changed.
Just a year ago, many Republicans joined Democrats in reacting with horror to the Capitol insurrection, denouncing both the violence perpetrated by the rioters and the role played by former President Donald Trump in stoking the outrage that fueled their actions with lies about a “stolen” election.
But on the anniversary of the attack, top Republicans were far more muted. Some acknowledged the terror of the day but quickly pivoted to bashing Democrats. Many avoided observances planned at the Capitol. And still others didn’t say anything at all.
It’s all part of the political calculus in a party in which the former president remains very much in charge.

Missing in action
The party’s top congressional leaders were missing from Thursday’s commemoration events at the Capitol. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy did not make an appearance or issue a statement. Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell, who delivered one of the sharpest denunciations of Trump after the attack, was in Atlanta for the funeral of former Sen. Johnny Isakson.
Indeed, during a moment of silence held in honor of law enforcement officers, only two Republicans were present in the House chamber: Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, who has become a pariah in her party over her criticism of Trump’s actions, and her father, former Vice President Dick Cheney.
In a statement, McConnell called Jan. 6 “a dark day for Congress and our country” after “the seat of the first branch of our federal government was stormed by criminals who brutalized police officers and used force to try to stop Congress from doing its job.”
But he also criticized Democrats for what he said was their politicization of the attack. “It has been stunning to see some Washington Democrats try to exploit this anniversary to advance partisan policy goals that long predated this event,” he said.
It was a notable shift from the comments he had made last year after the Senate voted against Trump’s impeachment.
“There’s no question — none — that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day. No question about it,” he said then, calling it “a disgraceful, disgraceful dereliction of duty.”




Pro-Trump supporters rioted and breached the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. (Shutterstock)

Then and now
Like McConnell, Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, a friend and ally of the former president, was clear in his denunciation of Trump immediately following the Jan. 6 attack.
“All I can say is count me out. Enough is enough,” he’d said then.
On Thursday, however, Graham, who remains close to Trump, marked the occasion with a mix of shock and partisan attacks.
“I still cannot believe that a mob was able to take over the United States Capitol during such a pivotal moment — certifying a presidential election. It would have been so easy for terrorists to boot strap onto this protest and wreak even further destruction on the US Capitol,” he wrote.
Still, he pivoted to politics, characterizing the speeches by President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris at the Capitol as an “effort to resurrect a failed presidency more than marking the anniversary of a dark day in American history.”
“Their brazen attempts to use January 6 to support radical election reform and changing the rules of the Senate to accomplish this goal will not succeed,” he wrote.

Politics first
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, considered a potential 2024 presidential candidate, was also quick to pounce. Speaking to reporters in Florida on Thursday morning around the same time Biden was addressing the nation, DeSantis slammed Democrats and the media for making so much hay of the event.
“This is their Christmas, January 6th,” he said. “They are going to take this and milk this for anything they could to try to be able to smear anyone who ever supported Donald Trump​.”
He lashed out at those who have compared the gravity of what happened on Jan. 6 to the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks and said most Florida residents have other issues on their minds.
“I think it’s going to end up being just a politicized Charlie Foxtrot today,” he said, using military slang for a chaotic situation. “I think it’s going to be nauseating, quite frankly.”

No comment
Other potential 2024 candidates, meanwhile, stayed conspicuously silent, underscoring the complicated calculus they face in a party in which Trump remains very much in charge, with the support of wide swaths of the primary-voting electorate.
Former Vice President Mike Pence — who fled for his life on Jan. 6 as rioters broke into the Capitol, chanting “Hang Mike Pence!” — did not not release a statement marking the occasion.
Pence has said that he and the former president will likely never “see eye to eye” on the events of Jan. 6 and has defended his role that day in rejecting Trump’s demands that he overturn the election results — something he did not have the power to do. At the same time, he has accused the media of reporting on the attack to “demean” Trump’s supporters and to “distract from the Biden administration’s failed agenda,” as he said on Fox News in October.




Jake Angeli, wearing fur hat with horns, and other supporters of former US President Donald Trump, leading rioters at the US Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.  (AP file photo)

Also saying nothing were former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who has been laying the groundwork for a possible 2024 campaign by highlighting the Trump administration’s successes, and former Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, who found herself on the wrong side of the party’s base when she criticized Trump immediately after the insurrection. She has since said that she will not run for the GOP nomination if Trump chooses to move forward with the comeback campaign he’s been teasing.

Counterprogramming
While Trump canceled the anniversary news conference he’d been planning in Florida for Thursday, several of his most ardent followers scheduled their own counterprogramming.
“We’re ashamed of nothing,” said GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida during an appearance with Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene on a podcast hosted by former Trump strategist Steve Bannon, who has been indicted for defying a subpoena from the House committee investigating the insurrection. “We’re proud of the work that we did on Jan. 6 to make legitimate arguments about election integrity.”
Greene slammed Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, another potential 2024 contender, for having characterized the anniversary as an event marking “a violent terrorist attack on the Capitol.”
She accused Cruz of disrespecting “MAGA patriots” and “people that rioted at the Capitol and did breach the Capitol.”
“Shame on Ted Cruz,” she said.

Party of Trump
The GOP’s transformation into the Party of Trump came perhaps most clearly into focus as former Vice President Dick Cheney paid an unexpected visit to the Capitol to support his daughter, who has become one of the most prominent anti-Trump voices.
Asked what he made of Republican leadership’s handling of the anniversary, Cheney, who served under George W. Bush, was glib in his assessment of an institution that has all but been remade in Trump’s image.
“It’s not a leadership that resembles any of the folks I knew when I was here for 10 years, dramatically,” Cheney, also a former congressman, told reporters.
“The importance of January 6th as a historic event cannot be overstated,” he added in a statement. “I am deeply disappointed at the failure of many members of my party to recognize the grave nature of the January 6 attacks and the ongoing threat to our nation.”
Karl Rove, who served as deputy chief of staff in the Bush administration and advised Trump at points during the 2020 campaign, wrote an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal addressing those in his own party “who for a year have excused the actions of the rioters who stormed the Capitol, disrupted Congress as it received the Electoral College’s results, and violently attempted to overturn the election.”
“There can be no soft-pedaling what happened and no absolution for those who planned, encouraged and aided the attempt to overthrow our democracy. Love of country demands nothing less. That’s true patriotism,” he wrote.


Chinese teachers leave Pakistan after deadly bombing at university

A security guard walks after a blast near a passenger van (not pictured) at the entrance of the Confucius Institute University o
A security guard walks after a blast near a passenger van (not pictured) at the entrance of the Confucius Institute University o
Updated 53 min 34 sec ago

Chinese teachers leave Pakistan after deadly bombing at university

A security guard walks after a blast near a passenger van (not pictured) at the entrance of the Confucius Institute University o
  • Four were killed in a suicide bombing at Karachi University’s Confucius Institute last month
  • Chinese nationals have frequently been targeted by separatists from Balochistan

KARACHI: Chinese teachers have left Pakistan’s port city of Karachi, a university official has confirmed, weeks after a targeted suicide blast killed their colleagues. 

Three Chinese language teachers and their Pakistani driver were killed in late April when a blast that also injured several others ripped through their van near Karachi University’s Confucius Institute. The attack was later claimed by the separatist Balochistan Liberation Army. 

Chinese nationals have frequently been targeted by separatists from Balochistan, where Beijing is involved in mega infrastructure projects as part of its Belt and Road Initiative. 

Academic activities were suspended at the university following the attack last month, and all Chinese teachers were moved outside the campus. 

“On Sunday, all remaining 12 teachers at the institute left along with the remains of the deceased teachers for China,” Dr. Nadir Uddin, the Pakistani director of the Confucius Institute, told Arab News. 

“The institute has not been closed. It will go on, and academic activities here may soon be resumed through other methods.”

Launched in 2013, the Confucius Institute is a Chinese government-run body that offers language and cultural programs overseas conducted by Karachi University and the Sichuan Normal University in Chengdu. The institute’s Chinese director was among those killed in the bombing last month. 

Another Karachi university official said the Chinese teachers may not return. 

“The return of Chinese teachers is unlikely,” the official told Arab News on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to speak to the press. 

“The administration has decided to resume academic activities in distance learning mode, in which teachers in China will teach Mandarin online.”

The Chinese Consulate in Karachi did not immediately respond to Arab News’ queries for this story. 

The bombing at the Confucius Institute was the first major attack on Chinese nationals in Pakistan since last year when a suicide bomber blew up a passenger bus. That incident killed 13 people, including nine Chinese workers employed at the Dasu Hydropower Project in the northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. 

Beijing has pledged over $60 billion for infrastructure projects in Pakistan under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor framework that is central to China’s initiative to forge new “Silk Road” land and sea ties to markets in the Middle East and Europe.

Related


Putin says new military infrastructure in Finland, Sweden would demand reaction

Putin says new military infrastructure in Finland, Sweden would demand reaction
Updated 16 May 2022

Putin says new military infrastructure in Finland, Sweden would demand reaction

Putin says new military infrastructure in Finland, Sweden would demand reaction
  • Russian leader says NATO’s expansion is a problem for Moscow

President Vladimir Putin on Monday said Russia had no issue with Finland and Sweden, but that the expansion of military infrastructure on their territory would demand a reaction from Moscow, as the Nordic countries move closer to joining NATO.
Putin, speaking in Moscow at a summit of the Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), said NATO’s expansion was a problem for Russia and that it must look closely at what he said were the US-led military alliance’s plans to increase its global influence.


Tokyo COVID-19 curbs declared illegal in ‘Kill Bill’ restaurant case

Tokyo COVID-19 curbs declared illegal in ‘Kill Bill’ restaurant case
Updated 16 May 2022

Tokyo COVID-19 curbs declared illegal in ‘Kill Bill’ restaurant case

Tokyo COVID-19 curbs declared illegal in ‘Kill Bill’ restaurant case
  • The orders, enacted in the capital during various states of emergency, included shortened operating hours and a ban on alcohol sales

TOKYO: Japan’s “Kill Bill” restaurant operator prevailed in a court case on Monday that declared Tokyo’s now defunct COVID-19 infection curbs were illegal.
The orders, enacted in the capital during various states of emergency, included shortened operating hours and a ban on alcohol sales, though there was a compensating government subsidy. Businesses that didn’t comply were subject to fines.
Global-Dining Inc, which runs more than 40 restaurants, defied the restrictions, taking the city government to court over the matter.
The district court said the Tokyo government had not provided a “rational explanation” for the measures. The court determined they had been illegal but it denied Global-Dining’s claim for $0.80 (¥104) in damages.
The restrictions ended in March. Whether this ruling would inhibit the city government in acting against any renewed COVID-19 outbreak is unclear.
In a statement, Global-Dining president Kozo Hasegawa, said the case revealed the “injustice and sloppiness of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government.” His company crowd-funded more than 25 million yen to fight the case.
Global-Dining’s Gonpachi restaurant, with a cavernous inner courtyard, inspired the fight scene in Quentin Tarantino’s first “Kill Bill” film. It was the site of a dinner between then Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and then US President George W. Bush in 2002.


Indonesia tourist bus smashes into billboard, killing 14

Indonesia tourist bus smashes into billboard, killing 14
Updated 16 May 2022

Indonesia tourist bus smashes into billboard, killing 14

Indonesia tourist bus smashes into billboard, killing 14
  • The bus was returning from a trip to Central Java’s Dieng Plateau, a popular mountain resort

SURABAYA, Indonesia: A tourist bus with an apparently drowsy driver slammed into a billboard Monday on a highway on Indonesia’s main island of Java, killing at least 14 people and injuring 19 others, police said.
The bus, carrying Indonesian tourists from Surabaya, the capital of East Java province, was returning from a trip to Central Java’s Dieng Plateau, a popular mountain resort, when it hit the billboard on the Mojokerto toll road just after dawn, East Java traffic police chief Latief Usman said.
Television news showed police and medical personnel removing victims from the bus, which crashed just 400 meters before the highway exit.
Usman said police are still investigating the cause of the accident, but that the driver reportedly appeared drowsy before the crash.
He said police haven’t yet questioned the driver, who suffered severe injuries. Nineteen people were being treated in four hospitals in Mojokerto, mostly for broken bones.
Road accidents are common in Indonesia because of poor safety standards and infrastructure.


Russian forces fall back in northeast Ukraine, McDonald’s retreats from Moscow

Russian forces fall back in northeast Ukraine, McDonald’s retreats from Moscow
Updated 16 May 2022

Russian forces fall back in northeast Ukraine, McDonald’s retreats from Moscow

Russian forces fall back in northeast Ukraine, McDonald’s retreats from Moscow
  • McDonald’s Corp, the world’s largest fast food chain, said it was pulling out of Russia because of the conflict
  • On battlefields near Kharkiv, an interior ministry adviser said Ukrainian troops were mounting a counter-offensive

RUSKA LOZOVA: Ukrainian troops have pushed Russian forces back from the northeastern city of Kharkiv and some have advanced as far as the border with Russia, Ukrainian officials said on Monday.
The developments, if confirmed, would signal a further shift in momentum in favor of Ukraine nearly three months into a conflict that began when Russia sent tens of thousands of troops over the border into Ukraine on Feb. 24.
Sweden meanwhile was expected to take a formal decision on Monday to apply to join NATO following a similar move by Finland — a change in the Nordic countries’ long-standing policy of neutrality brought on by the Russian invasion and concern about President Vladimir Putin’s wider ambitions.
“Europe, Sweden and the Swedish people are living now in a new and dangerous reality,” Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson said during a debate in parliament in Stockholm.
Moscow warned of “far-reaching consequences” should they should go ahead.
And in another setback for Putin, McDonald’s Corp, the world’s largest fast food chain, said it was pulling out of Russia because of the conflict.
In Brussels, the European Union was working on a package of further economic sanctions on Russia to step up international pressure on Putin.
Counter-offensive
On the battlefields near Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, interior ministry adviser Vadym Denisenko said Ukrainian troops were mounting a counter-offensive.
“It can no longer be stopped... Thanks to this, we can go to the rear of the Russian group of forces,” he said.
Kharkiv, lying about 30 miles (50 km) from the border with Russia, had endured weeks of heavy Russian bombardments. The Russian retreat from the city follows their failure to capture the capital Kyiv in the early stages of the war.
But thousands of people, including many civilians, have been killed across the country, cities have been blasted into ruins, and more than six million people have fled their homes to seek refuge in neighboring states in scenes not seen in Europe since the Balkan wars of the 1990s. Russia denies targeting civilians.
Ukraine’s defense ministry said on Monday the 227th Battalion of the 127th Brigade of Ukraine’s Territorial Defense Forces had reached the border with Russia.
Kharkiv region governor Oleh Sinegubov said the troops had restored a sign on the border.
“We thank everyone who, risking their lives, liberates Ukraine from Russian invaders,” Sinegubov said.
Reuters could not verify Ukraine’s account and it was not clear how many troops had reached the Russian border or where.
If confirmed, it would suggest the northeastern counter-offensive is having increasing success after Western military agencies said Moscow’s offensive in two eastern provinces known as the Donbas had stalled.
Konrad Muzyka, director of the Poland-based Rochan consultancy, said he was not surprised at the Ukrainian gains.
“The Ukrainians have been in the border regions for a few days already,” he told Reuters. “It’s symbolic and it definitely has PR value, but this was to be expected.
“Don’t get me wrong, the Russians still enjoy overall artillery superiority in terms of numbers, but I’m not sure if the same goes for the quality now.”
The governor of the Luhansk region in Donbas, Serhiy Gaidai, said the situation “remains difficult,” with Russian forces trying to capture the town of Sieverodonetsk.
He said leaders of the Lugansk People’s Republic, the territory in Luhansk controlled by Russian-backed separatists, declared a general mobilization, adding it was “either fight or get shot, there is no other choice.”
In the south, fighting was raging around the city of Kherson and Russian missiles struck residential areas of Mykolayiv, the presidential office in Kyiv said. Reuters was unable to verify the reports.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Sunday Ukraine could win the war, an outcome few military analysts predicted when Russia invaded Ukraine.

Expanding NATO
In a blow for Russia, which has long opposed NATO expansion, Finland and Sweden moved ahead with plans to join the alliance.
But Russia’s deputy foreign minister, Sergei Ryabkov, said on Monday that Finland and Sweden were making a mistake that would have far-reaching consequences.
“They should have no illusions that we will simply put up with it,” Ryabkov said, quoted by the Interfax news agency.
Moscow calls its invasion of Ukraine a “special military operation” to rid the country of fascists, an assertion Kyiv and its Western allies say is a baseless pretext for an unprovoked war.
The most intense fighting appeared to be around the eastern Russian-held city of Izium, where Russia said it had struck Ukrainian positions with missiles.
Russia continued to target civilian areas along the entire frontline in Luhansk and Donetsk, firing at 23 villages and towns, Ukraine’s military task force said.
Ukraine’s military also acknowledged setbacks, saying Russian forces “continue to advance” in several areas in the Donbas region.
There was also no letup on Sunday in Russia’s bombardment of the steelworks in the southern port of Mariupol, where a few hundred Ukrainian fighters are holding out weeks after the city fell into Russian hands, the Ukrainian military said.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said “very difficult and delicate negotiations” were going on to save Ukrainians in Mariupol and Azovstal.

Farewell to Big Macs 
McDonald’s said it had started the process of selling its restaurants in Russia, following many other Western companies who are getting rid of their Russian assets to comply with international sanctions.
The decision to close its 847 restaurants in Russia marked the retreat of a Western brand whose presence there had been emblematic of the end of the Cold War.
“The humanitarian crisis caused by the war in Ukraine, and the precipitating unpredictable operating environment, have led McDonald’s to conclude that continued ownership of the business in Russia is no longer tenable,” McDonald’s said.
French car-maker Renault also announced it will sell its majority stake in carmaker Avtovaz to a Russian science institute.