House Republicans downplayed strong TV ratings for the January 6 committee’s first public hearings.
Rep. Mike Johnson said Americans “have moved on,” from the Capitol riot.
The attacks align with the GOP’s rally-around-Trump strategy.
House Republicans billed the TV ratings for the January 6 select committee’s prime-time hearing on June 9 — which was watched by nearly 20 million viewers — as proof that average Americans aren’t interested in revisiting the deadly siege at the US Capitol.
“They thought the American people would be riveted by their production. But the ratings are in and we know the truth. The American people lived through all that and they have moved on,” House GOP Conference Vice Chair Mike Johnson told reporters Tuesday, adding that the televised hearings are nothing more than a chance for Democrats to beam their “seething hatred for Donald Trump” into midterm voters’ living rooms.
The twice-impeached former president tried to cast Wednesday’s now-postponed hearing as the consequence of “very poor television ratings” in a blurb fired off on Truth Social, Trump’s election deniers-only social media hub.
House GOP Whip Steve Scalise chimed in as well, accusing Democratic leaders of trying to distract the public from more pressing issues.
“Democrats want to keep talking about January 6 every day. That’s not something you hear American people talking about,” Scalise said at the same press conference. “They want Washington to be focused on the things that are hurting families today, and that is inflation, gas prices, and a border crisis.”
Attacking the committee’s viewership clearly appeals to Trump, who came to revere Nielsen ratings as host of the reality TV contest “The Apprentice.” It also fits in with MAGA world’s plan to shift blame for the attack on democracy to anyone but the embattled former president.