Former President Donald Trump on Thursday expressed his displeasure with the 35 House Republicans who bucked his call to vote against the bipartisan commission to investigate the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.
"See, 35 wayward Republicans — they just can’t help themselves," Trump said before lamenting Republicans such as Sens. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, and Ben Sasse, R-Neb., and Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo. "Sometimes there are consequences to being ineffective and weak. The voters understand!"
Trump's statement came after the House on Wednesday voted 252-175 to create the independent commission. However, the bill faces an uphill battle in the Senate, where it needs at least 10 GOP votes and already faces opposition from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.
The 35 House Republicans included 10 who voted for Trump's impeachment earlier this year for his conduct surrounding the riot, which followed his nearby rally and monthslong efforts to delegitimize his election loss last fall. Additionally, nine other members who voted in favor of the commission reside in competitive districts, according to the University of Virginia Center for Politics.
The split shows ongoing divisions within the party on issues related to the former president and his efforts to overturn the 2020 election. The investigative commission was the product of a compromise last week between House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., and ranking member Rep. John Katko, R-N.Y.
Katko was one of 10 House Republicans to vote in favor of impeaching Trump earlier this year.
The commission, as laid out in the bill, would include five Democratic-appointed members and another five chosen by Republicans, with current government officials or employees banned from appointment. The panel can subpoena individuals only if the Democratic-appointed chair and Republican-appointed vice chair agree or if there is a majority vote among the commission members.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., also opposes the commission, though House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said each of his requests for such an investigation outlined in a February letter to her were included in the agreed-upon format. McCarthy, like Trump, has said he wants such a commission to also investigate left-wing violence unrelated to the riot.
Recently, some Republicans have sought to revise the narrative of the riot, which took place about 4 1/2 months ago. More than 440 people have been charged so far with participating in the attack, which left five dead.
Trump had pushed for Republicans to vote against the independent investigation — one that could examine his conduct surrounding the riot.
"Republicans must get much tougher and much smarter, and stop being used by the Radical Left," he said. "Hopefully, Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy are listening!"
After the measure was approved by the House, Katko said: "An independent, bipartisan commission will protect against politicization and enable a review that focuses solely on the facts and circumstances surrounding the security breach at the Capitol as well as other instances of relevant violence."
Speaking with Fox News on Thursday morning, Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks, R-Iowa, said she voted in favor of the commission because on the day of the riot, she "visited with Capitol Police officers in the rotunda who had been assaulted, who had been pepper-sprayed, who were exhausted."
"And I think we owe it to them, since a lot of blame has been placed on them for security breaches, to find out what happened," she said. "There's also rumors of hierarchy within the House making that decision, and so I think we need to find out those things. It is bipartisan. There is equal representation, both sides. No member can be subpoenaed. And we can also look at other sources of riots that turn into violence."
"So I think, for those reasons we owe it to the Capitol Police, we owe it to members of Congress and we owe it to the public to understand what happened on Jan. 6 and then how to prevent it from happening in the future," she added.
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