On Wednesday, President Joe Biden condemned House Republicans for allowing Fox News host Tucker Carlson to access and air previously unseen security footage from the January 6 Capitol riot, showing police officers appearing to stand by passively as people poured into the U.S. Capitol.
Biden’s comments came in response to an internal memo from U.S. Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger, criticizing Carlson for broadcasting some of the video, alongside commentary that Manger claimed was offensive and misleading.
“More than 140 officers were injured on Jan 6,” Biden said in a tweet. “I’ve said before: How dare anyone diminish or deny the hell they went through? I stand with the [Capitol Police]. I hope House Republicans feel ashamed for what was done to undermine our law enforcement.”
Carlson and his team were granted access to more than 40,000 hours of security camera footage as part of a deal made with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), who opted for the disclosure for the sake of transparency and to counter the “politicization” that he believes had been fostered by former Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and the January 6 Committee.
Many Republicans have supported the decision to release the tapes, such as Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) who thanked McCarthy for the disclosure as it may help some of the January 6 defendants in their cases.
Others, however, have expressed dismay and derision with the decision as well as Fox News’ portrayal of the events on January 6.
Carlson shared footage that he claimed showed that the vast majority of the people were “peaceful,” “orderly,” and “meek.” These “sightseers,” as Carlson described them, appeared to revere the U.S. Capitol, filing inside in an orderly fashion. He argued that they were present out of concern that there was fraud in the 2020 election and accused Democrats and journalists of suppressing the images until now as “a pretext for a federal crackdown on opponents of the uni party in Washington.”
McCarthy told reporters that Capitol Police would be part of the process of sharing clips with Carlson’s team and that security would be “taken care of.”
However, Capitol Police told The Hill on Monday that the agency requested “that any clips be shown to us first for a security review” but that so far it had “only been given the ability to preview a single clip out of the multiple clips that aired.”
On Tuesday, Manger sent a memo to his staff, accusing Carlson’s program of cherry-picking some of the calmer moments from January 6, claiming the commentary, “fails to provide context about the chaos and violence that happened before or during these less tense moments.”
Manger also said his department “stands by the officers in the video” that was shown, asserting that officers were outnumbered on January 6 and did their best to de-escalate the situation.
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