On July 21, many Americans tuned in to the latest congressional hearing on the Jan. 6, 2021, storming of the U.S. Capitol. They learned that Trump remained in the White House dining room for the majority of the riot, choosing not to act to quell the violence.
Before the siege, most Texas Republicans stuck to the party lie, er — line — of widespread voter fraud. Directly after the Capitol building was infiltrated and desecrated by a pro-Trump mob, though, some changed their tune, at least for a minute or two.
Here's what five of the state’s GOP politicians said about Jan. 6 at the time, compared with now.
U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz
Texas’ junior senator once led the charge to overturn the 2020 presidential election results. Days before the insurrection, he told supporters that he would join them in defending liberty, proclaiming: “We will not go quietly into the night!”
But the day after the Jan. 6 riot, Cruz had apparently changed his mind. He classified the Capitol attack as a “despicable act of terrorism.”
Here’s Sen. Cruz telling supporters they 'will not go quietly'—just 4 days before a pro-Trump mob carried out an act of domestic terror at the Capitol pic.twitter.com/YZlKpEg2Ac— NowThis (@nowthisnews) January 13, 2021
He flip-flopped again earlier this year, now designating most of the mob as “peaceful protesters.”
Cruz has also attempted to downplay the Jan. 6 committee’s hearings, going so far as to call them “theater.”
U.S. Rep. Beth Van Duyne
North Texas Congresswoman Beth Van Duyne tweeted as rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol. “Every American has a right to peaceful protest, but violence is unacceptable,” she wrote.
Directly after, Van Duyne joined 16 of her Texas GOP colleagues in voting against the certification of President Joe Biden’s electoral win.
To those storming the Capitol right now: every American has a right to peaceful protest, but violence is unacceptable.— Congresswoman Beth Van Duyne (@RepBethVanDuyne) January 6, 2021
To the Capitol Police who put their lives on the line for us every day: thank you.
This summer, as the public hearings into the Capitol attack unfolded, the congresswoman claimed that constituents are tired of hearing about Jan. 6. Speaking with the far-right Newsmax, she echoed Cruz’s “theater” rhetoric and argued that everyday Americans are facing more pressing concerns.
“[Washington Democrats] are completely ignoring the issues that are happening to every other American across the country,” Van Duyne said.
U.S. Rep. Ronny Jackson
Amarillo Congressman Ronny Jackson is a major promulgator of the election-fraud narrative.
On Jan. 6, 2021, the far-right militia group Oath Keepers talked of providing him protection as the violence erupted. But later that day, Jackson issued a scathing statement, saying that those who were involved in the siege should “be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
Now, though, Jackson insists that there’s nothing to see here.
“The WITCH HUNT committee of unselects is FAILING,” he wrote in a recent tweet. “Americans can see through their lies, and NOBODY believes them. It’s all a SHAM meant to DISTRACT. The committee should be dissolved IMMEDIATELY!”
U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert
The WITCH HUNT committee of unselects is FAILING. Americans can see through their lies, and NOBODY believes them. It’s all a SHAM meant to DISTRACT. The committee should be dissolved IMMEDIATELY!— Ronny Jackson (@RonnyJacksonTX) July 9, 2022
East Texas Congressman Louie Gohmert rivals Cruz when it comes to sucking up to Trump. These days, he’s fashioned himself a champion for the jailed insurrectionists, even assigning them the lofty moniker: “political prisoners.”
On Jan. 6 itself, though, he petitioned his fellow Trump supporters to put down their pitchforks.
“Please people; no violence,” he wrote in a tweet. “That only hurts our cause.”
Please people; no violence. That only hurts our cause. Those leading the charge like the guy in yellow with the communist hammer & sickle tattoo: stopping the violence applies to you too. pic.twitter.com/XLKU9Y2y4x— Louie Gohmert (@replouiegohmert) January 6, 2021
U.S. Rep. Troy Nehls
Richmond Republican Congressman Troy Nehls is an ardent Trump supporter who tweeted the day before the insurrection that he intended “to fight” for his president.
Still, after rioters broke into the Capitol building, Nehls took to Twitter to decry the breach as a “disgrace.”
“We’re better than this. Violence is NEVER the answer. Law and order!” he wrote at the time.
I was proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with Capitol police barricading entrance to our sacred House chamber, while trying to calm the situation talking to protestors.— Troy Nehls (@SheriffTNehls) January 6, 2021
What I’m witnessing is a disgrace. We’re better than this. Violence is NEVER the answer.
Law and order! pic.twitter.com/SgN2F8YGIS
Speaking of “order,” Nehls has again changed tack. He’s now encouraging folks to preorder his book, in which he claims to have “chronicled the truth” about media falsehoods surrounding the election and Jan. 6.