Dozens of House Republicans Declare Trump’s Jan. 6 Actions Were Not Insurrection


As officials across the country consider whether to bar former President Donald J. Trump from the ballot over his role in the events of Jan. 6, 2021, a contingent of House Republicans are trying to bolster his claim that he did nothing wrong.

More than 60 Republicans — led by Representative Matt Gaetz of Florida and Representative Elise Stefanik of New York — said Tuesday they had signed onto a resolution declaring that Mr. Trump “did not engage in insurrection.”

The measure aims to influence courts and state election officials who are weighing whether Mr. Trump is eligible to hold office under the 14th Amendment’s ban on insurrectionists, an issue that is casting a cloud over the primary season and as Mr. Trump closes in on the Republican nomination. Senator J.D. Vance, Republican of Ohio, is introducing a companion measure in the Senate.

“It’s not the job of the states, and especially not the job of some bureaucrats in Colorado, to make this assessment and interfere with the rights of voters to cast their vote for the candidate of their choice,” Mr. Gaetz said at a news conference, flanked by fellow Republicans.

Mr. Trump has been disqualified from the ballot in Colorado and Maine. The Supreme Court has agreed to hear the former president’s appeal of the Colorado ruling, and arguments will begin Thursday.

At issue is whether Mr. Trump is in violation of Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, which bars those who have taken an oath to support the Constitution from holding office if they then “shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.”

In 2021, the Democrat-controlled House impeached Mr. Trump for incitement of insurrection after he summoned a large crowd to Washington that ultimately attacked the Capitol and injured about 150 police officers. He was acquitted by the Senate, but he now faces criminal charges.

Mr. Trump has been charged in federal court in Washington and in state court in Georgia with having conspired to illegally overturn the 2020 election. Those cases have yet to go to trial.

The House Republican news conference brought together members of the party’s leadership and the far-right House Freedom Caucus. Representative Bob Good of Virginia, the Freedom Caucus chairman who endorsed Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida’s failed bid for the Republican nomination, was there to show his support for Mr. Trump.

Criticizing the cases against Mr. Trump, Mr. Good condemned the Justice Department as the “Department of Injustice.”

“What more effective way to rig an election than to keep your opponent from being able to be on the ballot?” Mr. Good said.

For years, congressional Republicans have mounted a wholesale effort to rewrite the events of Jan. 6, downplaying or denying the violence and deflecting efforts to investigate it.

The news conference Tuesday came as Mr. Trump’s influence on Capitol Hill was as great as ever. He pushed congressional Republicans to kill a bipartisan deal to enhance security at the southern border. Instead, House Republicans were readying an impeachment vote against Alejandro N. Mayorkas, the homeland security secretary, even though in the assessment of legal experts he has not committed high crimes and misdemeanors, the standard for impeachment.

Democrats and some law enforcement officials condemned Mr. Gaetz’s effort.

Michael Fanone, a former District of Columbia police officer who was badly injured in the mob violence of Jan. 6, called the resolution “a slap in the face to those of us who almost lost everything defending the Capitol on Jan. 6, including protecting some of the very members of Congress who are now attempting to rewrite history to exonerate former President Trump.”

“But no piece of paper signed by a group of spineless extremists will ever change the facts about that dark day,” Mr. Fanone said in a statement. “The insurrection was violent, it was deadly and it will happen again if we do not expunge the MAGA ideology that stoked the flames of insurrection in the first place.”



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