Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Bonsall, said on Fox Business on Monday that Democrats are overplaying Wednesday’s violence at the U.S Capitol and are using the incident to kick President Donald Trump while he’s down.
Issa, responding to a question about the Democratic effort to impeach Trump a second time, accused liberals of seizing on a political opportunity presented by the riot.
“It’s kicking him when he’s down,” Issa said of Trump. “There’s no question at all, I think the liberals saw an opportunity, a misstep by the president that they’re going to overplay and they’re overplaying it as we speak.”
Four people died when hundreds of people flooded into the Capitol while Congress was debating Electoral College results, and a Capitol Police officer died later from injuries after reportedly being struck with a fire extinguisher while tangling with Trump supporters.
“They’re overplaying a lot of things, including the death of these people on Capitol Hill,” Issa said on Fox. “It was a terrible event, terrible things, people need to be punished. But of course they’re trying to use it to imply that there’s only one side that has violence and completely ignoring all of last year and the unchecked violence from the left.”
Issa was referring to violence associated with some of the protests following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody.
When the pro-Trump mob was cleared from the halls of the Capitol and Congress reconvened Wednesday night, Issa joined 137 fellow Republican representatives in failed votes to overturn the election results in Arizona and Pennsylvania.
Will Rodriguez-Kennedy, the county chair of the Democratic Party, said Monday that Issa’s comments on Fox Business were seditious and hypocritical.
“He voted to blow out the will of the people in Pennsylvania and Arizona,” Rodriguez-Kennedy said. “The fact that he did that after the violence carried out in this insurrection just shows that he cannot be counted on to fulfill the basic tenets of his post to support and defend the Constitution.”
Issa was elected in November to represent the 50th District, previously held by disgraced former Rep. Duncan Hunter. Issa was first elected to Congress in 2000 to represent a different district but did not run for a 10th term in 2018.
He rose to national prominence as chair of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, where he led politically charged investigations and hearings into the 2012 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya. Four Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens, were killed in the attack.
“You can’t look at (Issa’s) comment and take it seriously from a man who politicized the deaths of Benghazi,” Rodriguez-Kennedy said.
Citing a dispute with the Union-Tribune’s editorial board, Issa declined to comment on the criticism when reached by phone Monday.
He defended his Wednesday vote, however, saying “I voted my constitutional conscience.”
This story originally appeared in San Diego Union-Tribune.
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