Thursday officially marks the one-year anniversary of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, and rather than engaging in shows of rememberance, plenty of Republicans have instead accused Democrats of "exploiting" an attack they're now explaining away as just perhaps a failure of Capitol security, NBC News reports.
But at what political gain (or cost) to the GOP, you might ask? Per political experts, writes NBC News, the "common thread" in the angles among Republican lawmakers is to downplay both Trump's and their own involvement, while comforting and reassuring Republican voters, many of whom don't believe the former president deserves "signifcant blame for the violence."
If Republicans can instead portray Jan. 6 as a failure of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Democrats "to protect the Capitol, they've successfully closed out the matter with their universe of voters," especially in a world with such negative partisanship, said former Republican Rep. David Jolly (Fla.), who left his party after leaving Congress.
"It's a clumsy argument, and doesn't electrify their base like [critical race theory], masks, or inflation, so you won't see the GOP spend money on this message," Jolly added. "But you will see them use it in every response to charges of Trump's responsibility for 1/6."
What Republicans would like to avoid, writes NBC News, is upsetting Trump, who contines to wield outsize political power even a year after leaving office. Rather, they would prefer to "talk about issues where they aren't on the wrong side of public opinion."
"This is their only political play," said Elise Jordan, former national security official under former president George W. Bush. "It's sad, though, that so many men and women that were in a building that was under siege ... can't be honest about what it was like."