During the House select committee’s first hearing on the January 6 insurrection Tuesday, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyoming) asked officers to describe how former President Donald Trump’s comments on the rioters being a “loving” crowd made them feel.

“When you think about that and share with us the vivid memory of the cruelty and the violence of the assault that day and then you hear former President Trump say quote ‘It was a loving crowd. There was a lot of love in the crowd,’ how does that make you feel?” Cheney asked. 

Cheney is one of only two Republicans, the other is Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Illinois), serving on the committee. Other Republicans are largely boycotting the effort after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) rejected two of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s five picks for Republicans panelists to sit on a select committee to investigate the insurrection. Pelosi rejected Reps. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Jim Banks (R-Indiana).

Pelosi said that she would not let two of Trump’s most vociferous supporters investigate the unprecedented January riot. When rejecting the two picks, Pelosi mentioned that Banks once compared the riots to racial justice protests last summer. Jordan was one of Trump’s main supporters when spreading his false election fraud claims.  

McCarthy said he would want to investigate Pelosi’s failure to protect the Capitol on that day.

In response to Cheney’s question about Trump’s comments, U.S. Capitol Police Officer Aquilino Gonell said that he feels disappointed in Trump’s excuses for not taking responsibility for his words and actions.

“It’s upsetting. It’s a pathetic excuse for his behavior, for something that he himself helped to create – this monstrosity,” Gonell said. “I’m still recovering from those hugs and kisses that day.”

Gonell was one of four officers who offered testimony at the committee thus far. In his testimony at the committee, he said that the riots were like a “medieval battlefield.”

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