Top Democrats Raise Alarm Bells About Potential Violence At Sept. 18 ‘Justice For J6’ Rally
Several top Democrats in Congress are voicing concerns about the possibility of violence at a rally set to be held in front of the U.S. Capitol on Saturday to call for the release of Capitol riot defendants.
Senate Majority Dick Durbin told Forbes he is “very concerned” about a repeat of the violence that gripped the Capitol on January 6 after blasting the planned rally in a floor speech as “another gathering of violent white nationalists.”
Reps. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) and Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), who chair panels that oversee the Capitol Police, said it is “obvious this rally poses a threat to the Capitol,” but added that Capitol Police have “a clear plan... to maintain order.”
House Minority Leader McCarthy told Politico “I don’t think anyone” in the House GOP is going to the rally, despite several right-wing members of his conference vigorously defending alleged Capitol rioters in the past.
Spokespeople for two of the House GOP’s most ardent defenders of Capitol riot defendants, Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) and Madison Cawthorn (R-N.C.), said their bosses are not going to the rally, though others did not respond to inquiries.
McCarthy’s comments came after he and other congressional leaders were briefed on the rally by the Capitol Police, with chief Thomas Manger telling reporters they were briefed about the department’s “operation plan” for September 18.
Manger confirmed plans to re-install a security fence around the Capitol “a day or two before” the rally, adding that it will come down “very soon after” if “everything goes well.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the Capitol Police’s plan for September 18 “seems much better” than the plan they had for January 6, when hundreds of Trump supporters stormed law enforcement and ransacked the Capitol.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer echoed Pelosi’s sentiment, saying the Capitol Police seem “very, very well prepared, much better than before January 6,” adding that they are “ready for whatever might happen.”
Matthew Braynard, the former Trump campaign aide hosting the rally, told Forbes there is “no possibility of violence,” citing two similar rallies he held in D.C. “without incident.” Braynard said he has been “fully cooperative” with law enforcement and has a “private, diplomatic security team” and “many volunteers who will ensure this is a safe and productive event.”
“MPD will have an increased presence around the city where demonstrations will be taking place and will be prepared to make street closures for public safety,” D.C. Metropolitan Police spokesperson Brianna Burch told Forbes.
Eric Harris, a top aide to Rep. Jimmy Gomez (D-Calif.), who has led the charge to expel Greene from the House, told Forbes he has heard from Republican staffers who say their bosses may “make an appearance at this demonstration.”
The briefing came shortly after the Capitol Police announced the arrest of a 44-year-old California man who was found with a machete and a bayonet in a truck filled with swastikas and white supremacist symbols outside the Democratic National Committee. The department said in a statement it’s not clear if the suspect, Donald Craighead, planned to attend the Saturday rally.