Democrats Claim McCarthy Tried to Make 1/6 Commission a 'Big Lie' Circus, Defend Rejecting Picks

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats have defended the recent decision to block House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy's picks for the January 6 House Select Committee investigating the U.S. Capitol attack.

McCarthy put forward GOP Congressmen Jim Jordan of Ohio and Jim Banks of Indiana, but Pelosi opted to block their inclusion. Both men are staunch supporters of former President Donald Trump.

Pelosi and others have defended the decision, claiming that the inclusion of the lawmakers would cause the committee's work to devolve into political drama.

On Sunday, Democratic Congressman David Cicilline of Rhode Island accused McCarthy of attempting to turn the committee "into a circus of people that promoted the Big Lie," referring to Trump's claims of massive election fraud.

"We tried to do this in an independent, national commission," Cicilline said during an appearance on MSNBC on Sunday. "The Republicans refused. Kevin McCarthy then made some appointments that made it clear that he's not serious and he wants to turn this into a circus of people who have been promoting the Big Lie."

“We have to take it seriously,” @davidcicilline says of the Jan. 6th committee investigating the Capitol riot. “This was an effort conducted by some of the worst domestic terrorist groups in this country.” We can’t “just let it go.” #velshi

— Velshi on MSNBC (@VelshiMSNBC) July 25, 2021

Pelosi herself touched on the matter during a Sunday appearance on ABC News' This Week. The House speaker defended the legitimacy of the Select Committee going forward, even without appointees from the House Republicans.

"I do believe the work of this committee—in order to retain the confidence of the American people—must act in a way that has no partisanship [and] is all about patriotism," Pelosi said. "We have to, again, ignore the antics of those who do not want to find the truth. We will find the truth. That truth will have the confidence of the American people because it will be done patriotically and not in a partisan way."

Shortly after the interview, Pelosi named Republican Adam Kinzinger to the committee.

Kinzinger responded in a statement, "Today, I was asked to serve on the bipartisan January 6th Select Committee and I humbly accepted. When duty calls, I will always answer."

Kinzinger and Liz Cheney from Wyoming are now the only Republicans on the committee. Both are fierce Trump critics. Cheney voted in favor of Trump's second impeachment following the January 6 attack.

McCarthy issued a statement Sunday after Pelosi added Kinzinger, which read:

"Speaker Pelosi's rejection of the Republican nominees to serve on the committee and self-appointment of members who share her pre-conceived narrative will not yield a serious investigation. The Speaker has structured this select committee to satisfy her political objectives. She had months to work with Republicans on a reasonable and fair approach to get answers on the events and security failures surrounding January 6."

Newsweek reached out to the offices of Pelosi, McCarthy, and Kinzinger for comments but has yet to hear back.

Updated 2:56 PM ET, with a statement from McCarthy.

Nancy Pelosi January 6 committee
Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats have spoken in defense of blocking Kevin McCarthy's Select Committee appointees. In this photo, Pelosi and King Abdullah II of Jordan participate in a photo op in the Speaker’s Balcony Hallway on July 22 in Washington, D.C. Alex Wong/Getty Images