The House Select Committee on Jan. 6 and its biggest fans are experimenting this week with new ways to entice a passive public to care about a three-hour riot that happened more than 18 months ago. Those efforts have included a book deal with The New Yorker, televised hearings scheduled during prime time, and now, free ice cream.
According to The New York Times on Tuesday, supporters of the Jan. 6 Committee have organized watch parties across the country for the first of the season’s show trial hearings, which will take place starting on Thursday and are produced by a former ABC News executive.
“Activists have scheduled more than 90 watch events in various states,” the Times reported, “including a ‘flagship’ event at the Robert A. Taft Memorial and Carillon in Washington, where a large screen will be set up and attendees will get free ice cream.”
In other words, for the left, a shocking and horrifying documentation of how democracy nearly died, in an event that was on par with 9/11 and Pearl Harbor, will double as an ice cream social across from Capitol Hill.
“It’s everything from a family-gathering-in-the-living-room-type event to hosting it in a union hall to hosting it on a big field with a Jumbotron,” Lisa Gilbert, executive vice president of the progressive group Public Citizen told the Times.
The hearing, meanwhile, is expected to highlight the most graphic scenes from the Capitol chaos as Democrats attempt, ahead of the November midterms, to leverage the episode of political violence to smear Republicans as complicit in the riot. In March, Democrats on the committee conceded that the probe’s work was all about the upcoming elections — since the party in power has no substantive accomplishments to tout while Americans face rising and record prices for everyday needs.
Questions about House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s own culpability in the riot, after she reportedly refused the deployment of the National Guard six times ahead of the Jan. 6 events, are unlikely to surface after Republican appointments were barred from the House panel. Democrat Chairman Bennie Thompson told CNN last summer that Pelosi’s conduct as head of the lower chamber was beyond the scope of the committee.
“If you look at the charge that we have in the resolution, it says the facts and circumstances around January 6,” Thompson said. “I don’t see the speaker being part and parcel to that.”