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April 12, 2024 02:56 PM UTC

Gabe Evans' January 6th "Whataboutism" Is Ugly, Scary Stuff

  • by: Colorado Pols
Rep. “Gabbin'” Gabe Evans (R).

Tuesday’s hearing in the Colorado House Judiciary Committee of a GOP-sponsored resolution to impeach Secretary of State Jena Griswold in misguided retribution for the Trump v. Anderson U.S. Supreme Court case, to which Griswold was a defendant along with former President Donald Trump, ended in humiliation for its Republican sponsors and so-called “expert witnesses” with exceedingly dubious credibility. It was enough of a debacle for the House GOP micro-minority that it needs to be pointed out again and again how it was their idea, actually demanding this DOA resolution receive its hearing for weeks. By the end of the five-and-a-half hours of debate, Democrats had completely turned the tables on the Republican sponsors, seizing the initiative to refute GOP myths about the January 6th, 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol and drive home the finding by the Colorado Supreme Court, unrefuted by their federal counterparts, that Trump did indeed participate in an insurrection per the 14th Amendment.

But there is one additional takeaway to highlight from this hearing that could have the longest-reaching impact from what was otherwise an inexcusable waste of the legislature’s precious time. Of the three Republicans sitting in the committee Tuesday, freshman Rep. Gabe Evans, who is also a congressional candidate running in the swing CO-08 race, dominated the questioning from the Republican side. This included a lengthy and tense exchange with Harry Dunn, a retired U.S. Capitol Police officer who testified remotely in graphic detail about the violence committed on January 6th, 2021. We’re not sure what exactly motivated Rep. Evans to lean in so heavily in this lost-cause of a hearing to defend Trump and directly take on a heroic figure like Dunn, but it was a big risk for a candidate running in the state’s most evenly-divided and competitive district.

Not just for opening his mouth, but what came forth when he did:

EVANS: Thank you, Mr. Chair. So lots of questions here. I guess I’ll start off first with, Officer Dunn. First of all, want to thank you for your service as a police officer. I spent over ten years as a full time active duty law enforcement officer here in the Denver metro area. And one of my assignments was also, being the lieutenant over our, mobile field force unit. So responding to public unrest, things of that nature. So, completely sympathize with what you went through, at the the national capital. But my question to you is, are you familiar with the events that happened in the Colorado State Capitol? In the spring of, like, May, late May 2020 and some of the riots and violence that occurred there?


DUNN: Yeah, yeah. Thank you. Thank you for your question, sir. Yes, I am, vaguely familiar. I, I wasn’t there, so. But yeah, I vaguely familiar with the coverage of the on the news and such, I think.

EVANS: Okay. Perfect. So just as a as a brief refresher again I, I appreciate, that you’re, you’re not from Colorado, but as a brief refresher, several days of riots at the Colorado State Capitol late May 2020 while the legislature was in session, resulting in the legislature legislature having to, suspend their business an unprecedented number of times. And, in the aftermath of those riots, the major, the major cities, chiefs, associations. So the largest cities, in the nation, evaluated the Colorado riots at the state capitol as the third most violent riots in the nation in terms of officers injured, weapons seized. I forget all of the metrics that they use. So the question to you is, do you think it’s fair to focus on, public disorder that occurs at one Capitol? And not mention or bring up, disorder and violence that occurs in another Capitol? [Pols emphasis]

DUNN: Well, again, thank you, sir, for your question. And, you know, violence, political violence at any state, any legislature against any party is 100% wrong…

Officer Dunn didn’t choose to take Evans’ bait, but we think it’s worthy of a full stop. What we have here is Rep. Evans attempting to draw equivalence between the January 6th, 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol seeking to overturn a legitimate presidential election, and the civil rights protests that occurred in Denver and across the nation in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. It’s true that the civil rights protests of 2020 resulted in the Colorado legislature being forced to suspend business temporarily, and resulted in significant property damage in downtown Denver. But any moral equivalence between those two events ends there, since the 2020 civil rights protests in Colorado led directly to the passage of landmark police accountability legislation, Senate Bill 20-217. While January 6th has resulted in hundreds of prosecutions of insurrectionists, the 2020 civil rights protests in Denver resulted in millions paid out in settlements over the Denver Police Department’s brutalizing of protesters.

Faced with the unpleasant but necessary task of defending the indefensible as an avowed supporter of Donald Trump, Evans’ “whataboutism” over the George Floyd protests is a go-to deflection these days for Republicans to justify their ongoing support for Trump after his attempt to violently overturn the last presidential election. It’s one thing to be forced to recite these words under duress as a grudging member of the team. In Tuesday’s impeachment hearing, Gabe Evans was eager to jump into the fray and make this faulty and morally offensive argument in order to downplay the events of January 6th and defend Trump.

Assuming “Gabbin'” Gabe makes it out of the GOP primary, this becomes a toxic false equivalence he may dearly regret.


4 thoughts on “Gabe Evans’ January 6th “Whataboutism” Is Ugly, Scary Stuff

  1. January 6th purpose was to delay the constitutional duty of Congress to certify the election this advancing a coup. 

    The protest that Gape Evans is referring to was in regards to police use of excessive force. The police that responded night after night used excessive force as found BY A COURT OF LAW. 

  2. If Gabe Evans wants to make the comparison, I certainly think he can.  Put aside the murky "reasons" for the events.  Look at the court outcomes.

    NPR is keeping track of the federal court outcomes of January 6

    • Number of people charged, federal: 1,353
    • Number of people who have pleaded guilty: 806
    • Number of individuals who have had jury, bench, or stipulated bench trials: 194
    • Number with mixed verdicts: 55
    • Number convicted on all charges: 136
    • Number acquitted of all charges: 3
    • Number of people sentenced: 830
    • Percentage of people sentenced who have received prison time: 64
    • Median sentence for those who received prison time, in days: 180
    • Number of cases dismissed, federal: 10

    The 10 dismissals included 8 due to the death of the person charged. So, 997 guilty pleas or convictions, 3 acquittals, 2 dismissals for some reason other than death.

    To the best of my reading, there have been NO court judgments of improper police tactics or causing injuries to protesters. 

    I hope someone will ask Gabe Evans for equivalents with the Colorado Capitol demonstrations.

  3. Dunn is running for the Democratic nomination for a congressional seat in Maryland. He's blowing away the competition for money, apparently. According to his campaign, he's banked $3.75 million.

  4. Since he has a primary against Joshi to deal with, Gabe is going far out on a limb in order to try to get Trump’s endorsement. Just watch, he’ll be calling the Jan. 6 terrorists “hostages” before the month is out.

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