Majority Leader Schumer Floor Remarks On The Upcoming Senate Vote To Advance Bipartisan Legislation To Establish An Independent Commission To Investigate 1/6: Senate Republicans Must Decide If They Are On The Side Of Truth, Or The Side Of Donald Trump’s Big Lie

May 27, 2021

Washington, D.C.  Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor regarding the need to establish a national, independent January 6th commission to discredit President Trump’s Big Lie and restore Americans’ faith in our elections and our democracy. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:

Now, on another matter that should also be just as bipartisan in the Senate: the commission to investigate the January 6th attack on the Capitol.

We all know that January 6th was one of the lowest moments in our democracy, one of the lowest moments in the grand, grand history of our 200-some-odd year experiment, noble experiment in democracy. An outgoing president of the United States, fresh off an electoral defeat, a significant electoral defeat, did something that no other president in recent history has done. Rather than accept the results of the election and support the peaceful transfer of power—a hallmark of our democracy that has inspired democracies all over the world—former President Trump unabashedly lied, repeatedly, about the results of the election and fomented an armed rebellion, an armed rebellion at the United States Capitol.

We are all witnesses to those events. We all heard the lies. We lived through their terrible consequences. Lest we forget, 140 police officers were injured in the attack; five Americans would eventually lose their lives.

In the weeks since, faith in our elections has plummeted. More than half of the Republican Party now believes that the 2020 elections were rigged and that Joe Biden isn’t the “actual” president of the United States. Republican state legislatures across the country, captured by Donald Trump’s Big Lie, are tripping over themselves to restrict access to the ballot box.

Arizona Republicans, in a “election audit”, have been searching for traces of bamboo fibers in the 2020 ballots, chasing a bananas-crazy, right-wing internet conspiracy that China had ballots imported to tip the scales for Biden. That is how insane this has become—hunting for bamboo in ballots.

We need to put a stop to this cancer in the Republican Party. We need to stand up to the Big Lie. We must get at the truth and do everything in our power to restore Americans’ faith in our elections and this grand, ongoing, noble experiment of democracy.

In that light: a national, bipartisan, independent commission to report on the events of January 6th is exactly what the doctor ordered. We have to investigate, expose, and report on the truth. We need to establish a trusted record of what really transpired on January the 6th and the events that preceded it. That’s what this commission is designed to do, in a bipartisan, straight-down-the-middle, manner.

Now, I’ve gone through all the silly excuses that we’ve heard from our Republican colleagues about why the commission isn’t needed, or it’s too early, or will go on too long, or needs to be modeled after the 9/11 commission (even though it already is).

The truth of the matter seems to be that Senate Republicans oppose the commission because they fear that it might upset Donald Trump and their party’s midterm messaging. I’m not speculating, that was reported in Politico yesterday: that the Senate Leader, Republican leader warned his conference that the January 6th commission could hurt the Republicans politically.

Well, too bad. This is too important. For the sake of Americans’ faith in our democracy, there must be a full, thorough, and trusted account of what happened on January the 6th.

Senate Republicans must decide if they are on the side of truth, or the side of Donald Trump’s Big Lie.