Concerns over violence that erupted when supporters of President Trump rallied this weekend in Washington, D.C., mounted Thursday as Republicans sought responses at the local and federal levels.
Republicans led by Rep. James Comer of Kentucky, the ranking member of the House Oversight Committee, wrote a letter to D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser slamming the Democrat over Saturday’s violence.
Mr. Comer and two of his co-signers — Reps. Jody Hice of Georgia and Chip Roy of Texas — also sent a similar letter requesting the House Oversight Committee hold a hearing about what occurred.
Thousands of Mr. Trump’s supporters rallied Saturday in Washington, among other cities, to protest his projected loss to Democratic challenger and presumptive President-elect Joseph R. Biden.
While the festivities were largely peaceful, fights broke out during the evening between Trump supporters and counterprotesters. Several people were injured and a total of 21 were arrested.
Local social justice activists have blamed the violence on Trump supporters, including specifically members of the group called the Proud Boys who traveled from out of town to protest in Washington.
Republicans blamed “left-wing extremists,” meanwhile, and told Ms. Bower their “brazen attacks are part of a continuing trend of leftist agitators perpetrating acts of violence” under her watch.
“The failure of the city’s leaders to afford basic protections to persons who may hold different political viewpoints from their own appears to be another concerning example of viewpoint discrimination in the District,” the Republicans wrote in their letter to House Oversight Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney, New York Democrat, requesting she hold a hearing about the incidents.
“Despite the violence,” the Republicans wrote later in the letter, “the mainstream media and liberal establishment were quick to minimize the seriousness of the use of violence against Trump supporters by deriding them for failing to wear masks in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, and asserting that they were infiltrated by ‘white nationalists, conspiracy theorists and far right activists.”
Indeed, conspiracy theory site Infowars and its publisher, Alex Jones, promoted and attended the protests Saturday, respectively. So did leaders of the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers militia group.
And stickers promoting a neo-Nazi group and bearing racist slogans were spotted on traffic signs on Pennsylvania Avenue, where the Trump supporters marched Saturday, shortly after that event ended.
Good Trouble Cooperative, a social justice group in Washington, said in a statement Wednesday that Proud Boys members stabbed three during the brawls and accused local police of allowing it to happen.
Ms. Maloney, Ms. Bowser and Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio did not immediately respond to messages requesting comment.
Mr. Tarrio previously told The Times he wanted Proud Boys to peacefully protest Mr. Trump’s projected loss. He shared an older video on social media Thursday, titled “Proud of Your Boy!”, that included a montage of Proud Boys members fighting in public.
The letter to Ms. Maloney was signed by Mr. Comer, Mr. Hice and Mr. Roy. Republican Reps. Jim Jordan of Ohio and Mike Johnson of Louisiana joined them in the letter to Ms. Bowser.
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