“I thought: ‘I study countries that do this. I didn’t think it would happen in my own country,’ ” Rice, a Republican who teaches political science at Stanford University, said Wednesday on ABC’s “The View.”
The assault on democratic processes that day, as protesters sought to interrupt the certification of the presidential election, “was wrong,” Rice acknowledged — but she qualified that it’s time for lawmakers to “move on.”
The former White House official’s comments were a response in agreement to remarks Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) gave on Tuesday. McConnell told reporters it was time for lawmakers “to be talking about the future and not the past,” referring to the discussion about false claims of election fraud pushed by Trump and his allies, which ultimately led supporters to storm the Capitol on Jan. 6. McConnell said the issue should no longer be of concern.
“It’s my hope that the ’22 election will be a referendum on the performance of the current administration, not a rehash of suggestions about what may have happened in 2020,” McConnell said.
Nevertheless, the House’s Jan. 6 committee is moving ahead on the investigation into the insurrection. Over the past few weeks, lawmakers subpoenaed organizers of the pro-Trump rallies that preceded the riot and several former Trump advisers. Among them was Stephen K. Bannon, who last week refused to comply with the subpoena. The committee unanimously voted Tuesday to hold the former adviser in contempt.
Rice, who served as secretary of state in the George W. Bush administration from 2005 to 2009, said she agreed with McConnell. She added that it’s time for lawmakers to “move on in a lot of ways” and focus on issues affecting U.S. citizens.
“I’m one who believes that the American people are now concerned about what we call ‘kitchen table issues’ — the price of gasoline, inflation, what’s happening to kids in school,” Rice said.
Sunny Hostin, a co-host on “The View,” pushed back.
“I think it’s really politically expedient for Mitch McConnell to say ‘Let’s move on,’ especially when the former twice-impeached disgraced president enjoys attacking Mitch McConnell,” Hostin said. “But the problem is that past will become prologue if we don’t find out exactly what happened on Jan. 6.”
“And we will,” Rice interjected.
The former secretary of state acknowledged that the events on Jan. 6 were shocking.
“Our institutions have to be upheld,” she said, adding, “I don’t know how much more strongly I can say what happened on Jan. 6 was wrong.”
Rice noted that watching lawmakers return to chambers to certify the election that night gave her “new faith in our institutions and the people who were protecting them.”
But it’s time now, she said, for the next generation of party leaders to “move ahead and deal with the American people’s issues.”