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What Both Sides Get Wrong About the Capitol Riot

'Wall Street Journal' editorial board criticizes Republicans and Democrats
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 29, 2021 2:50 PM CDT
What Both Sides Get Wrong About the Capitol Riot
The scene at the Capitol on Jan. 6.   (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)

(Newser) – The harrowing testimony of four officers on duty during the Capitol riot has prompted the conservative editorial page of the Wall Street Journal to weigh in, and the editorial has plenty of criticism for both Democrats and Republicans. It blasts two "false narratives" that have emerged, one pushed by each side.

  • Republicans: They seem willing to downplay the riot and instead focus on the narrow issue of why security was so bad. For example, No. 3 House Republican Elise Stefanik said this: "The American people deserve to know the truth: that Nancy Pelosi bears responsibility, as speaker of the House, for the tragedy that occurred on Jan. 6." The editors note the security question is valid and needs to be explored, but that it's ridiculous to ignore the rest: "The GOP would be better off ceding weak ground by admitting that the election wasn't stolen and Mr. Trump was wrong."

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  • Democrats: Yes, "the riot was a disgrace, and it's a stain on Mr. Trump's presidency," but Democrats are exaggerating when they assert that our very democracy was put at risk by the rioters. "Even if they'd managed to steal or destroy the official Electoral College certificates, do Democrats think some knucklehead in face paint and a fur hat could have simply declared the election void?" Democrats are giving "the mob far too much credit."
  • Summing up: Lawmakers must investigate security issues as well as former President Trump's response to the unfolding riot, write the editors. "But defending his words and actions that day doesn't do the public any good, and neither does pretending that the constitutional transfer of power was in jeopardy," they note.
(Read the full editorial.)

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