“Due to the mischaracterization of the event scheduled for January 6th and the ensuing concerns for the safety of those in attendance, the prayer vigil is CANCELED,” the group introduced Wednesday afternoon following intense backlash from Republicans and Democrats alike.
This Thursday, Jan. 6, members of the Republican Party in Cobb County, Georgia, will be part of individuals across the nation in commemorating the anniversary of the lethal assault on the U.S. Capitol with a somber remembrance.
Except it can honor these allegedly behind the assault, hailed as “patriots” and “political prisoners” in far-right circles for storming the Capitol in an try to hold Joe Biden from changing into the following president.
The Cobb County Republicans are planning a candlelight vigil for the “J6 Patriots held in DC prisons.” The occasion may also characteristic the founding father of Women for America First, the group that hosted the D.C. rally with former President Donald Trump that preceded the assault.
But celebrating these behind the disturbing occasions final 12 months is an excessive amount of even for some Georgia Republicans, who’ve watched their occasion develop into extra excessive since Trump misplaced the state and made it a goal for his election lies and grievances.
“When I first saw this, I was in such disbelief that I had to fact check it … ” TJ Dearman, chairman of the GOP in Jackson County, Georgia, wrote on Facebook.
He mentioned the Cobb County GOP occasion isn’t meant to “honor the officers who were brutally assaulted for hours but to honor the ‘patriots’ who are being held as ‘political prisoners.’ My definition of patriotism isn’t beating police in an attempt to overthrow the US government but maybe I’m just another brainwashed rino (sic),” referring to the disparaging acronym, “Republican In Name Only.”
Nearly two dozen comparable pro-insurrectionist gatherings are occurring throughout the nation to mark the Jan. 6 anniversary, together with occasions promoted by Proud Boys and different excessive far-right actors, in keeping with Carla Hill, affiliate director of the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism.
“These events that portray insurgents as patriots, martyrs, freedom fighters, political prisoners … it’s a continuation of a broad scale conspiratorial campaign that deflects the blame from those responsible for Jan. 6,” Hill advised HuffPost. “This narrative just demonstrates an unwillingness to own up to the fact that this is a move away from democratic norms and values by claiming these people were all victims rather than perpetrators.”
Dearman, a 25-year-old who doubled down on his public put up in a press release to HuffPost, wrote “the martyring of January 6th is wrong and more Republican leaders need to call it out.”
Whereas Republicans condemned the revolt and even Trump in its quick aftermath, the GOP has since downplayed the day’s occasions. In May, Georgia Republican Rep. Andrew Clyde equated the assault to a “normal tourist visit.” Trump and his allies in Congress have refused to cooperate with the House choose committee investigating Jan. 6, characterizing it as a partisan “witch hunt” concentrating on Republicans.
“There was a stronger outrage for what happened, and that slowly dissolved into support for [the attackers] from the extreme far-right and even political leaders from one party,” Hill mentioned.
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Georgia), whose district will quickly embody Cobb County, is a number one far-right voice in help of the accused Jan. 6 attackers — whom Greene calls “political prisoners,” a time period that refers to individuals imprisoned for his or her political views. Greene has mentioned visiting the “patriot wing” of the D.C. jail the place defendants are being held till their trials.
Look Ahead America, a right-wing group run by a short-lived Trump marketing campaign staffer, is behind many of the pro-insurrectionist occasions occurring Thursday. The group additionally organized the meagerly attended “Justice for J6” rally in Washington final September. Its director, Matt Braynard, had been concerned in efforts to overturn the election and rewrite the historical past of Jan. 6.
In addition to a vigil Thursday on the D.C. jail the place accused Jan. 6 individuals are being held, the group is selling vigils outdoors courthouses and parks in Arizona, Georgia, Hawaii, Montana, North Carolina and South Carolina. To keep away from the looks of supporting a political occasion or candidate, attendees are merely instructed to put on “patriotic” gear and carry American flags. Trump attire was explicitly banned on the September rally.
In a Dec. 20 tweet, Look Ahead America wrote the vigils are “to honor those who have been politically persecuted and to commemorate Ashli Babbitt and Rosanne Boyland,” two Trump supporters who died within the riot. Babbitt was killed by officers as she tried to breach the Capitol, and Boyland died in a stampede of rioters. Both have develop into martyrs for these sympathetic to the insurrectionists.
Look Ahead America didn’t reply to HuffPost’s request for an interview. Neither did the Cobb County GOP.
Cobb County Republican Party chair Salleigh Grubbs advised the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that she doesn’t view the occasion the way in which it has been portrayed within the media. The purpose is to commemorate individuals who misplaced their lives within the assault and others who’re awaiting trial, she advised the outlet.
“To those who have cast quick judgment concerning this event, under no uncertain terms are we condoning any form of violence nor the glorification of what happened at the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021. This miscarriage of justice should concern ALL AMERICANS,” she advised them.
North Carolina’s Polk County Republican Party is promoting Look Ahead America’s vigil, together with its personal gathering beforehand to “pay tribute to the protestors who traveled to DC and shed more light on the corrupt and subversive actions of our government on that day,” and a viewing of a Jan. 6 documentary, “Capitol Punishment.”
In California, Nick Taurus, a far-right congressional candidate who’s attempting to unseat progressive Democrat Katie Porter — and triggered a disturbance at a city corridor she held over the summer time — is internet hosting his personal occasion to honor “patriots” outdoors the Orange County FBI workplace. Besides a 25-year immigration moratorium, Taurus’ candidate platform requires releasing from jail and pardoning anybody charged within the Jan. 6 assault.
Taurus, a 30-year-old junk hauler, advised HuffPost that individuals who attended the Jan. 6 rally and even these imprisoned are “just everyday American people acting in a way that any patriot would.”
“I don’t think these people are bad people,” he mentioned, including, “I think many had their lives totally ruined.”
Jason Shepherd, the previous chairman of the Cobb County GOP, advised HuffPost he was “flabbergasted” to obtain an invitation to the vigil.
“A candlelight vigil for accused criminals who are sitting in DC jail awaiting trial, who are denied bond because they’re accused of the most heinous crimes as part of the attacks,” mentioned Shepherd, who minimize ties with the occasion after it voted to censure Gov. Brian Kemp. “We actually had people who died last year in the wake of all this. That’s who we should be honoring at the candlelight vigil.”
Shepherd famous the Cobb County GOP was once the hometown occasion of the late Sen. Johnny Isakson, thought-about a average Republican open to reaching throughout the aisle. Isakson died final month, however his funeral falls on the Jan. 6 anniversary.
“On the same day we’re saying goodbye to this great leader who really helped establish the modern Republican Party, not just in Cobb County, but the entire state,” he mentioned.
Catherine Ross, a constitutional regulation skilled at George Washington University and the writer of “A Right to Lie? Presidents, Other Liars, and the First Amendment” mentioned the occasions being organized by the acute proper to commemorate the Jan. 6 assault show the nation is at “absolutely a crisis point” a 12 months later.
“The fact that there are people in the Congress and Republican leadership outside Congress who are backing up Trump’s lies and say the election is stolen, the insurrection was Election Day, and Jan. 6 was a peaceful vigil — well, more and more evidence is coming out almost every day about how much more danger the country was in than we even imagined on Jan. 6,” she mentioned.