GOP lawmaker who downplayed the Capitol riot as ‘a normal tourist visit’ doubled-down on the remark after police testified about the violence they faced

Andrew Clyde
Rep. Andrew Clyde, R-Ga., walks down the House steps after the last vote of the week in the Capitol on Friday, April 16, 2021. Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images
  • Reps. Andrew Clyde and Jamie Raskin had a heated exchange over comments made about January 6.
  • Raskin pressed Clyde about whether he listened to the officers who served during the Capitol riot.
  • Clyde stood by his past statements comparing the insurrection to “a normal tourist visit.”
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GOP Rep. Andrew Clyde of Georgia, who previously compared the Capitol riot to “a normal tourist visit,” stood by his comments in an explosive Tuesday night exchange with Democratic Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland.

During a House Rules Committee hearing, Raskin, who is a member of the panel investigating the January 6 attack and served as the lead impeachment manager for former President Donald Trump’s trial, asked Clyde if he watched the searing testimony from officers who fought back against the insurrectionists who breached the Capitol.

Clyde described Raskin’s line of questioning as “absolutely irrelevant.”

Raskin pressed Clyde for not disclosing whether he heard the officers speak.

“He refuses to say whether or not he heard the Capitol officers who risked their lives and have experienced traumatic medical injuries,” he said. “That’s his prerogative.”

He then asked: “Do you stand by your statement that they were tourists?”

Clyde refused to answer the question and told Raskin that he should read his “exact statement” and not an “interpretation” of his statement.

Raskin proceeded to read Clyde’s statement that was made in May.

“Watching the TV footage of those who entered the Capitol and walked through Statuary Hall showed people in an orderly fashion staying between the stanchions and ropes, taking videos and pictures. You know, if you didn’t know the TV footage was a video from January the 6th, you would actually think it was a normal tourist visit,” Raskin said, quoting Clyde.

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He added: “Those are your words.”

Clyde responded: “I stand by that exact statement as I said it.”

The GOP congressman later expressed that he did not state that those who breached the Capitol were “tourists.”

“That is not my statement!” Clyde said, becoming increasingly rankled by the tenor of the questioning.

“You want to make this another January 6th hearing, and this is not! This is the Rules Committee!” he added.

Democratic Rep. Jim McGovern of Massachusetts, the chair of the Rules Committee, chimed in and asked for the men to “lower the decibel.”

During Tuesday’s hearing of a House select committee that’s probing the January 6 riot, panel members heard from Metropolitan DC Police Officers Michael Fanone and Daniel Hodges, US Capitol Police Sgt. Aquilino Gonell, and Capitol Police Officer Harry A. Dunn, who all testified about the atrocities from that day, detailing the sheer violence and emotional scars that were borne that day by rioters upset over the certification of now-President Joe Biden’s electoral victory.

The Democratic-led panel also featured GOP Reps. Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, both conservatives who have been highly critical of Trump and many in the GOP who have sought to downplay the attack.

Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California has fermented GOP opposition to the January 6 panel, yanking off other Republicans after Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California rejected Reps. Jim Banks of Indiana and Jim Jordan of Ohio from serving on the House committee.