Simultaneously, Senate Republicans are seeking distance from insurrection denialism as many in MAGA world embrace a new narrative in which the rioters were largely peaceful (Trump likes the term “love fest”) patriots who have been unfairly vilified and targeted by the FBI. McConnell has quietly made clear there will be no counter-narrative to the House Select Committee’s hearings and findings on Jan. 6. On Twitter, Steven Law, Janet Mullins Grissom and other players on Team Mitch openly criticized attempts by House Republican leaders to blame Speaker Nancy Pelosi for the deadly riots or belittle the testimony of the four police officers who recounted to the committee last week that they feared for their lives during the horrific attacks.
The day of the hearings, Scott Jennings, a former McConnell staffer who is now a CNN commentator, assailed GOP attempts to deny the reality of that day.
“If we watched it, if you have seen the videos, if you listen to the testimony, I don’t know really how you go out with a straight face and say what we all saw, it didn’t really happen the way you saw it,” Jennings said, adding that “every Republican, whether they’re in the House or whether they’re sitting at home right now, needs to understand that efforts to get you to believe that this mob was something other than it was are wrong. They’re wrong.”
Then Cornyn, a McConnell lieutenant, gave the New York Times a similar response. “I don’t think anybody’s going to be successful erasing what happened,” he said. “Everybody saw it with their own eyes and the nation saw it on television.”