House GOP's new midterm headache: Candidates tied to the Capitol riot

Tina Forte (a long-shot GOP candidate trying to unseat Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (D.N.Y.), posed for a photo the day after the attack in what appears to have been black body armor. Another photo taken that day shows the right-wing influencer making a white power hand gesture.These candidates with ties to Jan. 6 attacks are the latest headaches and, in some cases a potential political liability for House Republicans. They have to deal with the fallout from Trump-led rallies that grew into a coup attempt. It is impossible to determine how many of the GOP's growing crop of candidates participated in the riot. Democrats are already looking at Trump-linked extremism in the Republican ranks. They believe it will harm the GOP's chances of winning key battleground districts next year.A panel composed of two Republicans who voted for Trump's impeachment, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, has set up to investigate the circumstances surrounding the attack. This effort could keep Jan. 6 in public view for many months.Last week, Rep. Tom Emmer, a Minnesota Republican who heads the NRCC campaign arm, declined to answer whether he would support patriots attending the Jan. 6 rally.Emmer responded to the question, "The beauty of this country": Anyone can run for office.In a recording that was obtained by POLITICO, and first reported by HuffPost, the chair of the National Republican Congressional Committee stated that he wanted as many people as possible to share our values and stand up for their beliefs and run for office.Michael McAdams, spokesperson for the NRCC, later stated that Chairman Emmer made it clear and believes that anyone who violates the law should be held responsible. We believe that the voters, and not Washington dictators, will make these decisions.Many Republicans on Capitol Hill want to move past Jan. 6, especially when it comes to the involvement by the former president. Many Democrats have been accused of inciting the riot for political gain. This is especially after a survey by the DCCC, the House Democrats' campaign arm found that almost six out 10 battleground voters had doubts about the House GOP candidates. This result was based on pollsters telling respondents that the party encouraged the mob at Capitol Hill and helped spread lies about the winner in the presidential election.Republicans Extremist Ringleaders Tom Emmer and Kevin McCarthy have willfully supported violent insurrectionists, advanced Trump's lies about 2020 and promoted lies, conspiracy theories and about COVID-19 "Putting politics over the safety and health of the American people," Chris Taylor, DCCC spokesperson, stated."It is evident that Republicans are committed in appealing to the extremism which led to January 6th insurrection and unfortunately for them that a majority of Americans reject this extremism and support democracy," Taylor said, while calling Kevin McCarthy and Emmer "extremist leaders."Although most GOP lawmakers prefer not to talk about Jan. 6, many remain tightly tied to the ex-president who addressed the rally before the riots. Many House Republicans sought Trump's endorsement and visited his resorts to raise funds. They also invited him on trips to highlight various issues.This closeness is important in the midterms as Trump has begun to publically revise the history. He describes those involved in the riot as a loving crowd, and glosses over the fact police officers were stabbed with sharpened poles, covered in bear spray, and otherwise pummeled in an attempt to stop the certification of his loss.GOP lawmakers condemned violence and some Republicans criticized Trump for encouraging the crowd. However, candidates from the party who attended Jan. 6 rally have been forced to apologize.Van Orden, a highly sought-after GOP recruit from 2020 who almost defeated incumbent Democrat Ron Kind, has tried to distance himself from this riot.It became obvious that the protest had turned into a mob and I fled the area. To avoid being construed as approving the unlawful conduct, Van Orden wrote an Op-ed in a local newspaper, the La Crosse Tribune, explaining his reasons for being outside the Capitol on that day.After a Daily Beast report showed Van Orden to have been in a restricted area at the Capitol, a photo he uploaded to Facebook revealed this, Van Orden's exact location was not clear. The former Navy SEAL stated that he strongly denounces Jan. 6's violence.Daniels, a lower-tier GOP candidate, posted about his attendance to the Capitol following rioters storming the building. Daniels took to social media to praise Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo. for her speech on not certifying Joe Biden's election win.Daniels also amplify social media accounts, which have attacked law enforcement officers who testified to defending the Capitol in Jan. 6.Forte is one of the most inflamatory candidates in the GOP, with a tie to Jan. 6. She has the longest odds to beat Ocasio Cortez.She posted several videos and photos to her social networks that show her at the Capitol during this attack. According to a Slate report, she said to a Newsmax host that the Capitol was her house and that she had the right to be there the day before the attack.Interview requests were not received from Van Orden, Daniels, and Forte.Publicly, the connections of the three GOP candidates to Jan. 6 are still not known. House Republicans will be asked questions about their connections to Jan. 6 as the midterms approach. Republicans insist that any person who violates the law should be held accountable.Rep. Jim Banks (R.I.) stated that if you were involved in violence at the Capitol Jan. 6, then you are likely to be arrested. He spoke in broad terms and refused to speak on specific candidates that he wasn't familiar with. You should be arrested if you have broken the law or did anything to violate the law.Banks resigned to Emmer, and stated that voters should choose candidates from the area of the riot.A Republican voter could make Jan. 6 a selling point by being there. A candidate can signal his loyalty by attending an event that soothes Trump's ego, in an age where loyalty to former presidents is a strong selling point.Candidates don't have to worry about electoral consequences in deep-red districts. Trump is attempting to unify the party behind Rep. Liz Cheney (R.Wyo) in Wyoming's at-large seat. They have openly boasted about their support for Trump's absurd challenge to the 2020 election.State Rep. Chuck Gray, a Cheney challenger, often mentions that he visited Arizona to improve the Maricopa County Audit. Darin Smith, an attorney, has praised his visit to Washington, D.C. on Jan. 6, though he denied going in the Capitol Building or passing any police barricades. Trump interviewed both before he could endorse the race."Donald Trump," he asked us. He said, "Hey, come up to the Capitol and demand a fair, audited election. Exercise your constitutional rights, Smith stated. That's exactly what I did.