More than two-thirds of registered voters—68%—said they do not believe participants in the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol should be pardoned, according to a new Politico/Morning Consult poll released Wednesday.
Voters who opposed Jan. 6 pardons included 81% of Democrats, 70% of independents, and 54% of Republicans.
But overall, just 20% of respondents said Jan. 6 participants should probably or definitely be pardoned, which is exactly why this isn't a debate GOP leaders on the Hill want to be having.
To date, hundreds of people who stormed the Capitol have been arrested, with roughly 165 of them having pleaded guilty as of last month, according to The Hill.
Donald Trump floated the idea of pardoning Jan. 6 convicts last month at rally in Texas. In the week that followed, no less a Trump sycophant than Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina called the idea "inappropriate," stating, "I firmly believe in law and order and support the police." Graham’s pushback was a tell that Senate Republicans viewed Jan. 6 pardons as terrible politics for them. Nearly a week later, Graham still hasn't walked back those comments.
But the issue of supporting the Jan. 6 attackers really exploded into an intraparty row for the GOP after the Republican National Committee (RNC) approved a resolution last week declaring the Jan. 6 assault to be "legitimate political discourse." In other words, those who beat police officers with flag poles and fire hydrants, those who smeared feces on the walls of the Capitol, and those who stalked the Capitol hallways chanting "Hang Mike Pence!" had every right to launch an assault on the U.S. seat of government.
That may be a highly popular view among diehard Trumpers and GOP grassroots activists, but it is a view harbored by a very small slice of the overall electorate.
The truth is, the Jan. 6 attackers are not a popular cause by any stretch of the imagination. At the same time, most voters likely wouldn't be spending many of their days thinking about them if the RNC hadn't taken up their cause last Friday as it sought to punish GOP Reps. Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois for serving on the Jan. 6 committee.
The heated debate about that resolution has both roiled the GOP and laid bare how once fringe elements on the right have become the lifeblood of the Republican Party.
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