Capitol Police Members Want a Jan. 6 Commission. Where Is GOP Support?

Washington, D.C., April 6, 2021: The Capitol Police Headquarters building entry with black bunting in memory of Officer "Billy" Evans killed while defending the U.S. Capitol building.


Hours after members of the Capitol Police issued a statement expressing their “profound disappointment” in ​the Republican leadership‘s opposition to the establishment of a commission to ​examine the Capitol insurrection, the Republican National Committee sent an email blast to subscribers asking that they “[h]elp unseat anti-police radicals.” The Wednesday blast claimed the real anti-police radicals were not the Republicans determined to erase the anti-police violence and assault on the democratic process marked by that day, but the “Radical Left.”

“Become a Blue Defender and stand with our nation’s law enforcement officers,” the email reads. “By activating your Blue Defender Membership, you’ll be directly supporting the GOP’s efforts to invest in races and candidates working to defeat Anti-Police Radicals in Congress.”

“The Radical Left is strong, but Conservatives are STRONGER because we have Patriots like YOU on our side, which is why it’s so important that you step up,” it continued, before asking for a donation.

Earlier in the day, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell​, after suggesting he’d be open to discussing the proposal for a bipartisan commission to study the insurrection and the security failures that allowed it to happen, slammed the door Tuesday on any possibility of cooperation with Senate Democrats to form the commission. ​He joined House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who on Tuesday ​also said he would not support the bipartisan commission deal brokered by one of his own members.

And they aren’t the only ones against the commission. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene has made support of police a central part of her political brand (in addition to the far-right QAnon conspiracy theory, history of bigoted comments, and harassment of the victims of mass shootings). “I will always Back The Blue!” she declared in a Facebook post Monday along with a photo of her standing next to a Capitol Police officer. And yet, Greene is “very upset” about the proposed commission, claiming in a Facebook video Wednesday that the “real bad guys” have already been arrested and “they’re being mistreated … while antifa, BLM, domestic terrorists continue to walk the streets and commit violence any time they want to.”

The letter ​from members of the Capitol Police force—which is not an official statement from the U.S. Capitol Police as a body but rather by members of the police force​—cited “hours and hours of physical trauma” endured by ​them and their colleagues. “It is inconceivable that some of the Members we protect would downplay the events of January 6th. Member safety was dependent upon the heroic actions of the USCP.”

As other reporters have noted, there are a few key reasons Republican leadership would be against the establishment of the commission: former President Donald Trump, who has a firm grasp on the party, doesn’t want it; the GOP is deep into rewriting their version of Jan. 6; and Republican members, including McCarthy himself who had phoned the president to call off his supporters storming the Capitol, could be subpoenaed as witnesses. 

The GOP’s support for police is commonly accepted at face value, but the party’s willingness to rewrite the events of Jan. 6 and the violence committed by Trump supporters against police show its support comes with certain conditions—and its strongest when police react with force to Black and brown protesters or anyone else they might paint as their “antifa” boogeyman.