On the morning January 6, 2021, a joint session of Congress arrived in the U.S. Capitol to certify the results of the presidential election, just like they do every four years. But outside, a mob of right-wing extremists, egged on by Trump and conservatives, had other plans.
We all watched in horror as Trump supporters violently stormed the building. MAGA militants vandalized and looted the Capitol and placed dangerous explosives nearby. Meanwhile, lawmakers, press, and staff rushed to evacuate. According to some of Minnesota’s own elected leaders, the unthinkable felt all too real.
Minnesota Representative Ilhan Omar, fearing for her life on that fateful day, called the father of her children and asked him to tell them that she loved them if she didn’t make it out alive.
“I saw the body armor. I saw the clubs,” Minnesota Representative Dean Phillips recounted, “I saw feces. I saw the speaker’s office ransacked.”
The January 6 insurrection marks a dark day in the history of our country. But conservatives don’t see it that way. Conservatives are either acting like it never happened, or, unthinkably, defending the actions of the insurrectionists.
Complicit in the violence
Minnesota Republican Representatives Michelle Fischbach and Jim Hagedorn voted to undermine our democracy by objecting to the electoral college vote for President Joe Biden. These baseless claims of a “stolen” election emboldened Trump supporters to storm the Capitol.
Representatives Pete Stauber and Tom Emmer have also been complicit. Stauber, Hagedorn, and Emmer signed an amicus brief in support of a lawsuit asking the Supreme Court to overturn the results of the 2020 elections. Then, Stauber doubled down on baseless election conspiracy theories.
While the chaos erupted in Washington D.C., a second group of Trump supporters, including some conservative Minnesota legislators, gathered in St. Paul for another disturbing rally. They threatened violence against Governor Walz and claimed there would be casualties.
Failing to take action
After the attack, 232 members of Congress stood up to defend our democracy and impeach Trump for an unprecedented second time. But not Minnesota conservatives. Representatives Jim Hagedorn, Pete Stauber, Tom Emmer, and Michelle Fischbach voted to side with Trump and oppose impeachment.
Later, Hagedorn, Stauber, Emmer, and Fischbach all voted against a bill to create an independent commission to investigate the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
Instead of holding Trump and his allies accountable, conservatives hoped we’d just forget about the January 6 insurrection.
One year later
Today, conservatives are ignoring or even defending the actions of the right-wing insurrectionists According to the Star Tribune, conservatives “unanimously declined to discuss the deadly siege” ahead of the anniversary of the attacks.
But even if conservatives don’t want to talk about it, their actions still speak volumes.
Conservative state Senator Mark Koran raised funds for insurrectionists accused of assault with a deadly weapon. In Aitkin county, conservatives organized a “vigil” for those charged with crimes in the January 6 attacks, calling them “Patriot Prisoners.”
At a recent gubernatorial debate, all five conservative candidates pushed the same dangerous rhetoric that contributed to the January 6 insurrection. Plus, Scott Jensen, one of those candidates, is affiliated with Dr. Simone Gold, who spoke at the January 6 rally before the insurrection and was arrested for her involvement.
We have to hold conservatives accountable
Conservatives want us to forget about the atrocities committed by Trump supporters on January 6, 2021. But we haven’t. They try to belittle the shock and horror we felt as we watched the violence erupt. But we remember. They want us to let them get away with fanning the flames of conspiracy. But we won’t.
Sign up to hold conservatives accountable and demand consequences for the January 6 insurrection. Together, we’ll protect our democracy and work toward a better Minnesota for all of us.