After spending recent months valiantly standing up for truth, Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler has retreated into embarrassing partisanship.
The House of Representatives last week voted to launch an investigation into the Jan. 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol. The vote was largely along partisan lines, with two Republicans — Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois — siding with the Democratic majority.
In response, Herrera Beutler, a Battle Ground Republican, said in a statement: “Speaker Pelosi’s proposal to create a partisan committee of politicians to investigate the events of January 6th will not be viewed as credible by at least half of Americans, nor will it honestly look at her own failures in securing the U.S. Capitol on that day. It’s not good enough, it won’t do the job and I am committed to exploring the truth. It’s what Southwest Washington deserves. I will oppose this partisan select committee and will not serve on it if asked.”
What Herrera Beutler failed to mention is that Republicans have persistently blocked efforts to reveal the truth about an egregious attack on American democracy. And with that failure, she has abdicated the high ground she staked out and defended in recent months.
Herrera Beutler voted in favor of impeaching then-President Donald Trump for his failed response to the insurrection, one of 10 Republican House members to do so. That drew a censure from the Clark County Republican Party, an entity more interested in defending partisan politics than defending the nation. But Herrera Beutler stood firm.
She voted against removing Cheney from a leadership role in the House Republican Caucus, after Cheney disputed The Big Lie promoted by Trump that Joe Biden’s election victory was fraudulent. A majority of House Republicans voted to oust Cheney from her leadership position. But Herrera Beutler stood for truth.
And she was one of 35 House Republicans to vote in favor of forming a bipartisan commission to investigate the Jan. 6 riot. Most members of her party ignored their patriotic duty to the country, and those in the Senate blocked formation of the commission. But Herrera Beutler did the right thing.
All of which makes her comment last week particularly disappointing. Congressional Republicans have repeatedly tried to change the conversation, engaging in stonewalling, gaslighting and downplaying when it comes to the insurrection. They have employed a strategy not of defending the indefensible, but of wishing it away through attrition.
In one example, Rep. Andrew Clyde of Georgia called the riot a “normal tourist visit.” But photos from Jan. 6 showed him rushing toward the doors of the House gallery and helping to barricade them to prevent rioters from entering.
Since January, Herrera Beutler has consistently spoken the truth about that day. She voted for impeachment because, she said, Trump “incited a riot intended to halt the peaceful transfer of power from one administration to the next. That riot led to five deaths. The president’s offenses, in my reading of the Constitution, were impeachable based on the indisputable evidence we already have.”
Now she is complaining about partisanship when Republicans have left Democrats with no alternative. It is akin to complaining about the outcome of a game when one team refuses to play.
Southwest Washington deserves a full defense of this nation and full accounting of a historic act of domestic terrorism. Instead, Herrera Beutler has opted to retreat.