Nancy Pelosi touts arms shipments to Ukraine, refuses to answer questions on Republican role in January 6 coup

At her weekly press conference on Friday, Democratic Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi refused to answer questions from reporters about leaked audio tapes confirming that in the days after the failed coup of January 6, 2021, Republican congressional leaders blamed former President Donald Trump for the attack on the Capitol and feared that ongoing fascistic incitement by far-right lawmakers would lead to more violence.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi of Calif., speaks during a news conference, Friday, April 29, 2022, on Capitol Hill in Washington. [AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin]

Pelosi, appearing rattled, berated reporters for asking about the explosive revelations, saying it was up to the Republicans to police their own caucus. She implied that mounting evidence of the Republican Party’s complicity in the attempted overthrow of the 2020 election and establishment of a dictatorship under Trump was a diversion from “kitchen table issues.”

She and the Democratic Party, she declared, were focused on improving the lot of “middle class Americans” by “legislating.”

She opened her press briefing with a statement praising President Joe Biden’s allocation of billions of dollars to prosecute the US war against Russia and called for swift passage of a bill to give Biden the $33 billion in additional aid to Ukraine he had announced on Thursday. This was all about the “Ukrainian fight for democracy, their democracy, our democracy,” she said.

Funneling ever more massive amounts of tax payer money to US defense contractors and Washington’s puppet government in Kiev, which is allied with neo-Nazis, and dragging the population of the US and the world toward a nuclear conflict with Russia clearly rank first among the Democrats’ “kitchen table issues.” Meanwhile, Biden and the Democratic-controlled Congress have shut down all pandemic containment and relief programs and are offering nothing to address rampant inflation and falling real wages.

While Pelosi tried to draw a straight line between the “defense of democracy” and US-NATO imperialist ambitions, she refused to discuss “defending democracy” in the US from the increasingly fascistic Republican Party. She had no interest in exposing its embrace of Trump’s lies about January 6 and its present lineup behind the ex-president’s continuing preparations for dictatorship.

Last week, New York Times reporters Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns, the authors of a forthcoming book titled This Will Not Stand, released audio tapes of conversations by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in the aftermath of the fascist assault on the Capitol. They said Trump was responsible for the attack on Congress and should be impeached.

Audio released this week from a January 10, 2021 House Republican Leadership conference call featuring McCarthy and Louisiana Representative Steve Scalise illuminated the fear of fascistic violence that gripped Washington D.C. after the attack.

After Pelosi’s opening remarks, a reporter asked her to comment on the Kevin McCarthy revelations, specifically the fact that he and others in the Republican leadership feared that members of their own conference, such as Florida Representative Matt Gaetz, were continuing to incite violence against Trump’s political opponents following the failed coup.

In the recordings, McCarthy said Gaetz’s actions were “serious shit” and were “putting people in jeopardy.” Scalise agreed, calling Gaetz’s actions “potentially illegal.”

Pelosi reprimanded the reporter and called his query a “waste” of a question. She merely pointed to the contradiction between the concerns expressed in early January 2021 by Republican House leaders and their subsequent attacks on her for having magnetometers installed on the House floor to prevent Republicans from carrying firearms into the chamber.

When the reporter tried to press the issue, the speaker quickly interjected, saying: “I’m not going to spend this press conference talking about McCarthy’s inconsistencies with his caucus, just so we understand that.”

Pelosi’s refusal to engage reporters’ questions, much less condemn the Republicans for backing Trump’s coup and his lies following the attack, is just the latest example of the Democratic Party’s efforts to cover up the scale of the fascist plot and keep the working class in the dark. Earlier this month, Pelosi reiterated her support for a “strong Republican Party.”