Insurrection
A protester holds a Trump flag inside the US Capitol Building near the Senate Chamber on January 6, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

The Republican congressman also defended his votes against measures to prevent mass shootings in schools.

Repeating already-debunked claims about the investigation into the Jan. 6 insurrection, US Rep. Tom Tiffany called the special congressional committee in charge of the probe a “sideshow” during a Friday morning interview.

Speaking to the Spooner-based website “Dryden Wire,” Tiffany claimed the probe into a deadly attack on Capitol Police and the halls of Congress was an intentional Democratic distraction from other issues such as inflation and crime.

“We want you to deal with the substantive stuff,” Tiffany said, “not doing sideshows like this.”

The committee held its first public hearing on Thursday night, and far from a sideshow, lawmakers on the panel outlined the ways in which former President Donald Trump, his Republican allies, and his supporters spent months scheming to overturn the 2020 election. Their plot failed to keep Trump in office, but succeeded at undermining public confidence in the results—an effort aided by Tiffany when he voted against accepting the certified electoral votes from Arizona and Pennsylvania, mere hours after the rioters had been cleared from the Capitol. 

Rather than focus on Trump’s plot, the Capitol attackers, or the work of the congressional committee, Tiffany put forward debunked conspiracy theories about Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Washington, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser, and the city’s security plans ahead of Trump’s “Stop the Steal” rally, which he scheduled for the same time Congress was meeting to certify the election results.

“They’re not revealing that President Trump a couple of days before January 6, 2021 offered up to 20,000 National Guard troops to the mayor of Washington DC,” Tiffany claimed. “Now, the president cannot force a mayor to take those National Guard troops, but the mayor could have. She refused it. Why are we not talking about that?”

Because Mayor Bowser did not refuse the offer. There was no such offer from Trump.

Weeks after Jan. 6, Trump did falsely claim that he recommended 10,000 National Guard troops for the Jan. 6 event and Pelosi, among others, rejected the offer. Trump continued to repeat the lie for months.

Bowser, on Jan. 4, did request 340 members of the DC National Guard for traffic control in anticipation of the event. 

Tiffany also responded to one of the main revelations from Thursday night’s hearing, which came when one of the two Republicans on the committee, US Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, said several members of Congress approached the White House about potential pardons—implying they may have played some kind of role in encouraging, planning, or facilitating the attackers. Tiffany said he was not among those members.

“I did not ask for one because I don’t need one,” he said.

Earlier in the interview, Tiffany also criticized a school safety bill, the Protecting Our Kids Act, which passed the US House on Wednesday in a bipartisan vote. The bill would raise the minimum age for buying a semi-automatic weapon from 18 to 21, ban civilian use of magazines with more than 15 rounds of ammunition, and require that untraceable “ghost guns” receive serial numbers. 

Instead, Tiffany proposed a study into whether teens and young adults on antidepressants are prone to violence. Such a hypothesis has been advanced by a Church of Scientology-affiliated group that frequently embraces fringe theories.

“Let’s take all facets of this,” he said of mass shootings, “rather than just saying ‘we need more gun control, we need to take guns away from people.” 

While it is a popular talking point, there is no legislation proposed that would take guns away from the general population.