WASHINGTON — A Republican resolution censuring Rep. Rashida Tlaib accuses the Michigan Democrat of leading an “insurrection” at the Capitol last month over a protest inside a House office building — a clear effort to trivialize the events of Jan. 6, 2021.
The Jan. 6 attack on Congress has been called an insurrection because it sent lawmakers scrambling as part of an effort by Donald Trump to overturn the 2020 presidential election.
The Oct. 18 protest involved 400 or so demonstrators demanding a cease-fire in Gaza inside the Cannon House Office Building, which was open to the public.
Capitol Police arrested 305 people for illegally demonstrating inside Cannon and three for assaulting officers, according to an agency spokesperson. Tlaib addressed the demonstrators before they entered the building.
In a formal censure resolution introduced last week, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) claims Tlaib “led an insurrection at the United States Capitol Complex” that day, putting “Members of Congress, their staffs, and Capitol visitors in danger by shutting down elevators, stairwells, and points of egress, while obstructing official business in both the House of Representatives and the Senate.”
Greene’s resolution is “privileged,” meaning it will automatically get a vote that is expected on Wednesday evening.
Greene is a top ally of the former president on Capitol Hill who has long downplayed the events of Jan. 6, when a mob of Trump supporters fought police, pushed past barricades on the Capitol grounds and smashed windows to gain entry to the Capitol itself. Members of Congress dropped what they were doing and ran for their lives.
Prosecutors have charged more than 1,000 people with crimes, including 350 rioters charged with assaulting, resisting or interfering with police. More than 10 were charged with seditious conspiracy. Four Trump supporters died that day, including one who was killed by police, and five subsequent officer deaths have been linked to the attack.
The Oct. 18 demonstration, by contrast, involved several hundred people going through metal detectors to enter the Cannon building. When they began an organized demonstration inside the Cannon rotunda, officers warned the demonstrators to stop or else they would face arrest.
Except for the three demonstrators who assaulted officers, October’s protest was the kind of mass civil disobedience that used to be routine on Capitol Hill before the coronavirus pandemic and the actual insurrection in January 2021. But Greene called it a “rebellion” and part of a pattern of allegedly antisemitic and terrorist-sympathizing behavior by Tlaib.
“Calling for violent terrorist rebellion inside the Capitol complex is behavior that must be condemned by the House of Representatives, and the Constitution gives us the power to do just that: censure,” Greene said in a letter to her colleagues on Monday.
Tlaib, the lone Palestinian American in Congress, has in the past been criticized by Democrats and Republicans alike for criticizing Israel, but it’s unclear how many Democrats might support Greene’s resolution. Last week, Rep. Becca Balint (D-Vt.) noticed her own privileged resolution censuring Greene in response to Greene’s resolution against Tlaib.
“Her resolution is riddled with lies. It’s bigoted. It’s dangerous,” Balint said last week. “This kind of rhetoric fans the flames of hate and fear at a time when Muslim Americans are already facing increased threats and violence.”
Some Republicans, including Greene, have suggested that the Jan. 6 attack was orchestrated by the FBI to entrap Trump supporters. Several Republicans groaned and yelled “no” when Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) mentioned during a floor speech last week that “a violent mob of insurrectionists” had chased lawmakers out of the Capitol that day.
And House Republicans have said the various prosecutions of Donald Trump, including for his efforts to steal the 2020 election, reflect the “weaponization of government” against Trump and his followers.