Lawmakers and commentators are reacting to footage recently aired on Tucker Carlson’s Fox News show that shows the “QAnon Shaman” being guided by police officers through the U.S. Capitol during the storming on Jan. 6, 2021.
The footage, which does not have audio, appears to show police officers not attempting to stop the costumed protester, named Jacob Chansley, and guiding him as he walks through the Capitol. At one point, the officers appear to try opening a door for him.
The video was part of roughly 40,000 hours of surveillance camera footage from the event given exclusively to Carlson by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. Carlson began airing the footage on his show Monday, during which he described the storming as “mostly peaceful chaos.”
Twitter CEO Elon Musk tweeted that the footage of officers walking with Chansley was “crazy,” adding, “The public was misled.”
Capitol Police officers have testified at Jan. 6 trials that protesters faced little resistance in the building because officers felt outnumbered and feared provoking violence, as reported by CNN.
The footage was described as “otherworldly” in a blog post by Jonathan Turley, an attorney who testified in former President Donald Trump’s defense during his first impeachment trial. Turley said Chansley’s legal counsel confirmed that his defense did not have that footage during his trial.
Rep. Mary Miller (R-IL) tweeted to thank Carlson for “exposing the lies” of the House select committee that investigated Jan. 6. Referencing the Washington Post’s slogan, she added, “Tucker is shining a light & sharing the TRUTH because ‘Democracy Dies In Darkness!’”
On his Truth Social platform, Trump said McCarthy showed “great courage” in giving Carlson the footage.
“A whole new, and completely opposite, picture has now been indelibly painted,” Trump wrote in the post. “Thank you Kevin and Tucker. FREE AT LAST!!!”
Capitol Police Chief Thomas Manger blasted the coverage in an internal message to the force, criticizing Carlson’s “offensive and misleading conclusions.”
Holding a copy of Manger’s letter on Tuesday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) told reporters, “It was a mistake, in my view, for Fox News to depict this in a way that’s completely at variance with what our chief law enforcement official here at the Capitol thinks.”
Asked Tuesday night whether he regretted giving Carlson the footage, McCarthy maintained support for the move, which he said was for “transparency.”
“Each person can come up with their own conclusion, but what I just want to make sure is I had transparency,” McCarthy said.