Republicans are learning the hard way that supporting a president who inspires a violent attempt to overthrow the government has consequences.
There are the obvious ones, like the fracturing of the foundation of representative democracy, the adrenaline shot to future right-wing extremist terror, and the growing specter of a new civil war. This isn’t what Republican members of the House of Representatives are concerned about, though. Instead, they’re whining that they’re being asked to pass through metal detectors as they enter the Capitol.
Louie Gohmert just walked around the magnetometer.
“You can’t stop me; I’m on my way to a vote,” he said as he passed the cops.
— Matt Fuller (@MEPFuller) January 13, 2021
Lauren Boebert is refusing to comply with the metal detector or allow a bag search. Now standing in the House doorway. Security is refusing to allow her to enter. Appears to be a standstill.
— Marc Rod (@marcrod97) January 13, 2021
Rep. Van Taylor is in front of me as I'm trying to go in to vote, refusing to pass through a metal detector and arguing with U.S. Capitol Police officers about it
— Rep. Don Beyer (@RepDonBeyer) January 13, 2021
In addition to Reps. Gohmert, Boebert, and Taylor, Reps. Steve Stivers (R-Ohio), Larry Bucshon (R-Ind.), Rodney Davis (R-Ill.), Steve Womack (R-Ark.), and Debbie Lesko (R-Ariz.) reportedly complained about or refused to pass through the metal detectors on Tuesday. “You are creating a problem you do not understand the ramifications of,” Davis reportedly yelled at the checkpoint.
“These new provisions include searches and being wanded like criminals,” Lesko tweeted of the ordeal. “We now live in Pelosi’s communist America!”
In response to the uproar, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (R-Calif.) lamented how “many Republicans have disrespected our heroes by verbally abusing them and refusing to adhere to basic precautions keeping members of our congressional community, including Capitol Police, safe.” She announced that lawmakers who attempt to evade security will be fined $5,000 on the first attempt and $10,000 for a second offense.
Passing through metal detectors has for years been a standard practice for Americans entering vulnerable building like airports, arenas, and courthouses (and also many doors of the U.S. Capitol!). Republican lawmakers like Stivers have even proposed expanding their use in schools, in lieu of tightening gun laws. Yet, Stivers and some of his colleagues feel they’re too precious to comply with this rudimentary safety measure a week after the Capitol was infiltrated by a violent mob, and as the military has been mobilized to protect against future attacks ahead of Joe Biden’s inauguration next week.
The threats of such attacks are real. The FBI has warned of armed protests at all 50 state Capitol buildings, and the areas around federal buildings and monuments in Washington, D.C., have been turned into veritable Green Zones. National Guard troops from across the country are currently on the way to Washington, and 15,000 are expected to be in the nation’s capital in coming days. The New York Times reported on Tuesday that Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy has decided that those stationed around the Capitol will be armed.
Images of National Guard troops sleeping throughout the building began to circulate Wednesday morning.
I spotted the National Guard sleeping in the hallways of the Capitol as I walked in this morning. pic.twitter.com/PzVpQCo5yU
— Daniella Diaz (@DaniellaMicaela) January 13, 2021
Inside the Capitol this morning where Speaker Pelosi usually walks to her office. pic.twitter.com/BQIEf5b2s4
— Erin Schaff (@erinschaff) January 13, 2021
If Republicans are so unhappy about all of this, maybe they shouldn’t have lined up behind a president who for the past four years has been nudging his followers toward taking violent action against his detractors. Even easier, they could have condemned Trump’s campaign to overthrow the results of the election, which led to the insurrection, which led to tragic inconvenience of having to more frequently pass through metal detectors as they enter a federal building like everyone else in America.
But they didn’t condemn it. Gohmert, Boebert, and Lesko all voted in favor of the effort to contest the election results, and did so hours after this very effort effort inspired the infiltration and desecration of one of America’s most hallowed federal buildings, leaving five dead, including one Capitol Police officer. This may have been a wakeup call to some Republican representatives. To others, the insurrection was just another piece of news to be leveraged into a bad-faith attack against “Pelosi’s communist America.”
This post has been updated.