He took goofy photos in front of the Washington Monument, and ate at a touristy D.C. restaurant: “Would recommend the place to any other tourist and frankly, anyone in the area who hasn’t tried it.”
On Monday, as a veteran of the Colorado Army National Guard, he planned to visit Arlington National Cemetery: “I will be paying respects to comrades . . . who have given the ultimate sacrifice.”
Here’s what Nelson and his fellow normal tourists didn’t do: bring stun guns and smear feces on the walls of historical buildings. They didn’t break windows, or beat officers with pieces of scaffolding they dismantled. They didn’t commandeer a cherry picker or smash through barricades.
“And no, no zip-ties or bear spray with me,” Nelson said.
Nelson was this specific because some members of Congress continue, inexplicably, to insist that the mob attack of Jan. 6 was not an insurrection.
“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,” Rep. Andrew S. Clyde (R-Ga.) said in a congressional hearing last week.
“If you didn’t know the TV footage was a video from Jan. 6,” Clyde continued, “you would actually think it was a normal tourist visit.”
Maybe he doesn’t get out of his office enough to see what legit tourists actually look like.
The softening of that horrific day by certain members of the GOP is fast becoming a national disgrace.
At least 140 officers were injured during that “normal tourist visit.”
The officers from the D.C. and Capitol police departments had cracked ribs and smashed spinal discs, concussions, bruises, a gouged eye, and one was even stabbed with a metal fence stake. They were punched, kicked and trampled, beaten with flagpoles and dragged down stairs. One died the following day.
“I’ve talked to officers who have done two tours in Iraq who said this was scarier to them than their time in combat,” then-acting D.C. police chief Robert J. Contee III said at a news conference not long after it happened.
Sounds just like a regular trip to the zoo or Disney World, right?
Pack the pepper spray, honey, and make sure you stash some weapons nearby!
Wait, you don’t bring stun guns when you tour the Louvre? Baseball bats in your backpack when you take in the wonders of the Tate?
Didn’t think so.
And Clyde knew better, even on that day in January, when he was photographed helping barricade a House chamber door against some of those “normal” tourists trying to force their way in.
It looked like a scene from one of the snarly zombie apocalypse series my husband keeps watching — far from the orderly museum visit Clyde is gaslighting his voters with.
The whitewashing being done on Capitol Hill over this act of domestic terrorism is terrifying. And a commission to investigate it should’ve been created Jan. 7, not bickered over until last week.
While politicians are performing and parrying, the FBI is doing the law and order thing, arresting the insurrectionists one after another — more than 400 so far.
Even some Republican members of Congress are tired of the coverup.
“It’s absolutely bogus,” Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) told CNN’s Dana Bash on Sunday on “State of the Union.”
“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 on 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,” he said.
Twenty years ago, Americans were on the same page when “Never Forget” became the slogan for the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Yet that lesson has been forgotten by a tempestuous coven of lawmakers that is already trying to erase our latest large-scale act of domestic terrorism.
When Nelson and his tourist friends aren’t able to do that ever-so-normal D.C. must-see — a tour of the Capitol, still surrounded this week by a ring of high mesh fencing that keeps them away from the people’s house — they’ll remember what happened.
“They disgraced America,” Nelson said, “and our values as Americans.”
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