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On Anniversary of 6 January Capitol Attack, GOP Is Still Divided on How to Respond

© REUTERS / POOLSen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, questions U.S. Capitol Police Chief J. Thomas Manger during the Senate Rules and Administration Committee hearing on "Oversight of the U.S. Capitol Police Following the January 6th Attack on the Capitol, Part III", in Washington, U.S., January 5, 2022.
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, questions U.S. Capitol Police Chief J. Thomas Manger during the Senate Rules and Administration Committee hearing on Oversight of the U.S. Capitol Police Following the January 6th Attack on the Capitol, Part III, in Washington, U.S., January 5, 2022. - Sputnik International, 1920, 06.01.2022
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Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), who first objected to President Joe Biden's election on 6 January 2021, said in a Senate Rules Committee hearing on Wednesday, "We are approaching a solemn anniversary this week. And it is an anniversary of a violent terrorist attack on the Capitol".
Cruz, who argued for forming an election commission to evaluate voter fraud claims in response to Biden's 2021 win, then asked, "What could have prevented the breach of the Capitol? What could have prevented the riot getting as far as it did?"
Other GOP leaders have not been as quick to condemn the events of 6 January.

Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) was accused of being "very disrespectful" by Sandra Garza in a meeting with Capitol Police. Garza is the partner of deceased Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick who died on 7 January after being sprayed with chemical substances, suspected to be bear spray, during the insurrection.

Although both Garza and Sicknick were supporters of Trump previous to the events of 6 January, Garza now holds Trump and those who "enabled" him "100 percent responsible".
Garza, along with Sicknick's mother and two other 6 January officers, has lobbied Congress to create an independent commission to investigate the attacks. During the meeting, Graham's "bored and distracted" demeanor reportedly upset Garza.
Graham ultimately opposed the commission, believing it would "turn into a partisan food fight". However, he agreed in the meeting that there should be some accountability for the attack.
Thus far, more than 725 people have been arrested in connection with the Capitol riots.
Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI), who also opposed the request for an independent commission, has been accused of downplaying 6 January 2021. During a Capitol security hearing on 23 February 2021, during his questioning time, Johnson referred to the rioters as "fake Trump protesters".
In this Jan. 6, 2021, file photo insurrections loyal to President Donald Trump rally at the U.S. Capitol in Washington. U.S. - Sputnik International, 1920, 06.01.2022
Capitol Breach Anniversary: How 'Insurrection' Probe Lost Steam & Failed to Reach Its Objectives
In early February on a conservative 1130 WISN radio talk show, Johnson also said of the attacks, "This didn't seem like an armed insurrection to me", even though the weapons that were seized by law enforcement included: Molotov cocktails, bear spray, guns, and knives. Others used baseball bats, a fire extinguisher, a wooden club, a spear, and a stun gun.
Other Republicans have accused the White House and Democrats of politicising 6 January to promote their own legislation.

"Their [Democrats] brazen attempts to use January 6 to support radical election reform and changing the rules of the Senate to accomplish this goal, will not succeed", Senator Graham tweeted this morning.

An October poll from Quinnipiac University showed that 93 percent of Democrats believe the 6 January attack was the fault of former President Trump, while only 66 percent of Republicans believe the same.
Former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD), who worked to establish the 9/11 Commission, believes "disinformation and the use of algorithms and social media" played a major role in instigating the Capitol attacks.

Meanwhile, Reps. Matt Gaetz of Florida and Marjorie Greene of Georgia plan to "expose the truth about the Jan 6 protests" on Capitol Hill later this afternoon.

Republican strategist John Thomas sees any defending or rationalising of the 6 January attacks as damaging to Republicans running for election. His advice to the GOP? "Dodge the question [about 6 Jan] and pivot to the broader question of election integrity".
Former VP Dick Cheney also commented on the events of 6 January 2021, making an appearance at the Capitol on the anniversary of the riots.
"It's an important historical event. You can't overestimate how important it is", he said. "I'm deeply disappointed we don't have better leadership in the Republican Party to restore the Constitution".
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