In a show of support for a bipartisan commission to investigate the Capitol riots, Republican representative Fred Upton on Sunday lashed out at his colleagues for trying to downplay the 6 January insurrection.
During an interview with CNN, the Michigan Republican blasted his GOP colleagues for trying to rewrite history, attempting to explain away the significance of the historic incident where supporters of Donald Trump stormed the Capitol Building in an effort to overturn Joe Biden’s election victory.
It comes after Georgia Republican Andrew Clyde had on Wednesday likened the Trump supporters’ breaching the Capitol to a “normal tourist visit”.
Mr Upton said: “It’s absolutely bogus. You know, I was there. I watched a number of the folks walk down to the White House and then back. I have a balcony in my office. So I saw them go down. I heard the noise — the flash bangs, I smelled some of the gas as it moved my way.”
Mr Upton was one of the 10 Republicans to vote with Democratic lawmakers to impeach Donald Trump for inciting violence on 6 January. He has backed Liz Cheney, a Wyoming Republican who also supported Mr Trump’s impeachment and who was ousted from her leadership role last week.
Mr Upton said: “We only win by addition. Not subtraction. I was a supporter of Liz. I was very disappointed about what we did [to Ms Cheney].”
He added: “You know, it’s the president — the former president — that continues, and even yesterday, about the Big Lie, about the election being stolen. We are not going to win unless we’re in a big tent. And we’re not going to win unless we add to our base, not subtract from it.”
Mr Upton’s comments come in the wake of Mr Clyde’s statement last week in which he compared the 6 January rioters to tourists. Once inside the Capitol, many of the Trump supporters filmed themselves and posed for selfies – but breaching the building involved sustained violent clashes with police and a total of five people died. Mr Clyde had said during a hearing that “there was no insurrection and to call it an insurrection, in my opinion, is a bald-faced lie.”
Mr Upton, during his interview, said that he supported a bipartisan committee to investigate the events of 6 January, after a deal to create one was struck by the House Homeland Security Committee on Friday.
Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, who chairs the committee, and Representative John Katko of New York told reporters on Friday that they had reached an agreement for the panel to be modelled on the 9/11 Commission.
Talking about the commission, Mr Upton said on Sunday: “Get the facts out, try to assure the American public this is what happened, and let the facts lead us to the conclusion.”