House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said on Tuesday that he did not see Tucker Carlson’s show where he broadcasted cherry-picked video footage of the January 6 riot on Fox News Monday evening.
The Republican Speaker of the House gave the footage to the right-wing cable news host who has frequently downplayed the events of 6 January 2021 when supporters of former president Donald Trump raided the Capitol in an attempt to overturn the 2020 presidential election results.
In response, the chief of Capitol Police condemned the footage as “cherry-picked” and misleading. But Mr McCarthy did not respond to the criticism.
“I didn’t see what was aired, what I want to do exactly is give the transparency to everybody and everybody can make up their own [mind],” he told reporters on Tuesday.
On Monday’s broadcast, Mr Carlson selectively showed footage portraying rioters taking selfies and acting mostly peacefully. Mr Carlson said a “small percentage of them were hooligans” but said “the overwhelmingly majority weren’t,” saying “they were peaceful. They were orderly and meek. These were not “insurrectionist. They were sightseers.”
Mr Carlson also displayed footage of Officer Brian Sicknick, who died a day after the riot, supposedly not harmed. Mr Sicknick’s family condemned Fox News.
Mr McCarthy said he worked with the Capitol Police and asked them for any clips on the way about security.
But Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell criticised how Mr Carlson depicted the riot.
“Clearly, the chief of the Capitol Police in my view correctly describes what most of us witnessed firsthand on January 6,” Mr McConnell told reporters on Tuesday.
But Mr McCarthy pushed back on criticisms of his releasing the footage, pointing to the fact that CNN reported where members of Congress were during the riot.
“I hope McConnell would have been concerned with CNN telling the American public where we were” Mr McCarthy told reporters.
Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene of defended some of the people depicted in the footage.
“I mean, I think it yalls jobs you get exclusives right. And I think so Tucker got an exclusive. It was something that he covered repeatedly,” she told The Independent. Ms Greene also defended some of the rioters who came into the Capitol as not violent.
“The people that walked in that walk, walked in the open doors and walked around and they were just walking around taking videos. I mean, they basically were like typical tourist, right,” she said. “I’m not calling them tourists. But that’s, that’s what similar to a tourist that comes to the Capitol, walks in and takes video and things like that.”
When asked if she agreed with Mr Carlson, Representative Lauren Boebert of Colorado told The Independent, “I want you to go back and watch the video.”
But Democratic Representative Eric Swalwell of California, whom Mr McCarthy kicked off the House Intelligence Committee, said Mr McCarthy was feeding conspiracy theorists.
“I don’t think we should focus on Tucker Carlson,” he told The Independent. “He’s a troll. I mean, Kevin McCarthy is feeding the trolls, right? Because signs at the zoo that say don’t feed the animals because the animals can’t help themselves.”
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