This week, as the Senate prepared to vote on a bill that would create an independent commission to investigate the January riot at the Capitol, Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) spoke out against his Republican colleagues who have been opposing the effort. In short, he observed, opposing the creation of that commission seems like opposing discovering the truth about the heinous attack on democracy that unfolded on January 6th. Is glossing over deadly authoritarian violence really what Republicans want to be known for?
Sen. Mitt Romney: Republicans blocking the January 6 commission "would be seen as not wanting to let the truth come out." https://t.co/n6ZMYlQEtM
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) May 27, 2021
‘I think the perception is on the part of the public that the January 6 Commission is just trying to get to the truth of what happened, and that Republicans would be seen as not wanting to let the truth come out. I don’t believe that’s what’s the motivation is, but I think that’s the perception.’
Romney is one of just a small number of Republican Senators who have indicated that they in some way support the effort to create the proposed independent commission; others include Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Susan Collins (Maine), both of whom (like Romney) voted in favor of convicting Trump on a charge of incitement of insurrection after his post-riot impeachment this January. A total of ten Republican Senators would need to decide to support creating the commission in order to overcome a planned filibuster of the move by the Senate GOP — and as of early Thursday, that necessary level of Senate GOP backing for the commission had not materialized.
POLITICO reported this week that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told Republican Senators that creating the independent commission could threaten what the publication referred to as the GOP’s “midterm election message.” After that meeting, McConnell told reporters that voters “ought to focus on what this administration is doing to the country” — and not Trump. In other words, McConnell appears to be concerned that putting a serious spotlight on the brazenly Trump-inspired attack on the Capitol this past January could distract voters from Republican attempts to essentially ignore elements of the past that could make them look bad. For McConnell, it’s about politics.