During a live-streamed town hall event over the weekend, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) presented the absurd conspiracy theory that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) was somehow personally responsible for the security gaps at the Capitol on January 6 when Trump supporters overwhelmed police and stormed the building. In reality, PolitiFact explained recently, although as House Speaker Pelosi “does have a role in the hierarchy overseeing security, there is no indication she controls its day-to-day operations.”
The Sergeant-at-Arms for the House, who helps handle security, reports to the House Speaker — but the Sergeant-at-Arms for the Senate, who occupies a similar role, reports to the Senate leader. When the Capitol rioting unfolded, Kentucky Republican Mitch McConnell was the Senate leader, and he and Pelosi appear to have had a roughly equal role in the Capitol security hierarchy. Nevertheless, ignorant Republicans including Paul have attempted to blame Pelosi for security lapses and, by extension, the violence inside the Capitol, since increased forces could have theoretically stopped the rioters.
Discussing ongoing security precautions at the Capitol in the aftermath of the deadly rioting, Paul commented as follows:
‘I don’t think there is a threat that is such that we should have the National Guard here. I think we have a 10-foot tall fence with razor wire on it with about a mile perimeter all around the office buildings, all around the Capitol — if you want to come and see the world’s greatest constitutional republic, which is America, you can’t come anymore. You can’t get in to see your Representatives. You can’t get in the Capitol. It’s really a sad time.’
It is not correct that observers can no longer “come and see… America,” although the Capitol building — which is not the same thing as “America” — is restricted. Paul sounded more concerned about post-riot security precautions than the actual rioting.
He added as follows:
‘I think basically the reason we’re doing it is because Nancy Pelosi under-reacted and didn’t have adequate security on January 6, and so now she’s over-reacting. And I think ultimately it’s gonna come out that there were requests for National Guard and for more Capitol Hill police before January 6, and that those requests were turned down by Nancy Pelosi and her handpicked Sergeant-at-Arms. I think as that becomes more readily apparent, she’s concerned that she’ll be blamed for not having adequate security on January 6.’
Paul appears to be basically pulling this conspiracy theory out of thin air, but he presented the idea to his constituents as a legitimate possibility. Nancy Pelosi is not somehow the top leader in charge of the National Guard — does Paul even understand how security in D.C. works? On January 6, it’s then-acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller whose top-level approval was required for a National Guard deployment at the Capitol.
Paul added as follows:
‘I do think that there are threats… I’m aware of the violence that we face and that we need security… but at the same time, we live in a free country. We don’t want to live under an army. The Army has a great purpose, but the Army is for defending us from foreign invasion.’
Watch the Senator’s ignorant comments below: