GOP Senator Roy Blunt Warns Republicans Not to 'Explain Away' Capitol Riot

Missouri GOP Senator Roy Blunt said Sunday that fellow Republicans, such as Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson, shouldn't "explain away" the deadly and "totally unacceptable" act of insurrection that occurred at the U.S. Capitol on January 6.

The Senate Republican policy committee chairman told NBC News' Meet the Press Sunday morning that he agrees with former President George W. Bush more than he does Johnson's recent reaction to the Capitol attacks. He criticized Johnson and other Republicans who have for weeks downplayed the incident—with the Wisconsin senator last week saying he wasn't scared because the rioters weren't Black Lives Matter or antifa protesters.

Johnson's comments drew a stark contrast from that of Bush, a Republican, who said he was "disgusted, sick to [his] stomach to see our nation's capital city being stormed by hostile forces."

Blunt responded Sunday: "I'm much more in agreement with the George W. Bush in the view of this. I think it was a terrible day for America, it was absolutely unacceptable, and we can't let that kind of thing be repeated again in our country.

"All over the world people saw that in what people would see as the citadel for democracy. Two weeks later, I'm standing right where a lot of that fighting occurred at the inauguration itself," he continued. "Totally unacceptable and we need to understand that that's an underlying principle of what happened on January 6. We don't need to try to explain away or come up with an alternative version of it. We all saw what happened, we know what happened and we can't let that happen again."

As the siege was occurring in real time on January 6, Blunt tweeted: "The events unfolding at the Capitol are shameful. There is no justification for violence and destruction. It has to stop now. This is not who we are as a nation. Thank you to the Capitol Police who are keeping us safe."

He personally thanked one of the D.C. police officers for protecting him several days later.

Blunt's remarks come after Johnson told The Joe Pags Show on March 12 that the riot was being overblown by Democrats. His comments were characterized as "racist" by many critics.

"I knew those were people that loved this country, that truly respect law enforcement, would never do anything to break a law so I wasn't concerned. Now, if the tables were turned and President Trump won the election and those were tens of thousands of Black Lives Matter and antifa protesters, I might have been a little concerned," Johnson said.

Newsweek reached out to Blunt's office for additional remarks Sunday.

roy blunt republican senator capitol
Missouri GOP Senator Roy Blunt said Sunday that fellow Republicans like Wisconsin's Ron Johnson shouldn't "explain away" the deadly and "totally unacceptable" act of insurrection which occurred at the U.S. Capitol on January 6. Screenshot: YouTube | Meet the Press