January 6th is what some Republican congressmen are now calling a “tourist visit”
It is now more than four and a half months since the dramatic events in Washington when supporters of Donald Trump stormed the Capitol building in the effort to stop Congress officially certifying that Joe Biden won the 2020 presidential election – yet what happened that day looks set to dominate US politics for a long time to come.
The latest move is for Congress to create an official inquiry into what happened and, no doubt, Trump would have been called as a witness. Even though the discussions on how this would operate involved both Democrats and Republicans all but 35 GOP members of the House voted to oppose it.
The harsh reality for Republican House members is that with all of them facing re-election in the midterms next year it takes a brave person ready to stand up against the former president.
For Trump is perceived as being in total control of the party and ambitious party politicians are acutely aware of the dangers of defying Donald.
Now the approach of many Republicans is simply to deny that this happened and the storming of the building in which five were killed, including a policeman, is being described as a “normal tourist visit”.
The bill to set up the inquiry now has to go to the Senate where it will require 10 Republicans to back it because of the filibuster rules. The chances of that are seen as remote.
The problem for the Republicans trying the denial approach is that there is so much video material available of the storming of the building on that day that trying to describe it as a tourist visit could hold them up to ridicule. You can see those who have refused to back an inquiry having this used against them.
A beneficiary from all of this could be Joe Biden. There is a long history of newly elected presidents struggling in their first midterms. Maybe Biden in 2022 could be different.