U.S. Capitol Police officer James Blassingame spoke to PBS this week about his harrowing experience during the Jan. 6 insurrection and his disappointment in its wake as conservative lawmakers try to change the narrative about what took place.
The interview aired Wednesday, a day after a Senate report revealed broad security missteps before the attack, including failures by top intelligence agencies to adequately warn law enforcement officials. It came two weeks after Republicans blocked a bipartisan commission that would have more broadly investigated the deadly assault by Donald Trump supporters.
Blassingame, a 17-year veteran of the U.S. Capitol Police, told PBS he is still processing what happened that day and how it happened.
“It was an insurrection. It was a significant amount of people that felt aggrieved and felt that invading the Capitol to impose their will was an appropriate action,” he said.
He said that the mob looked “like a sort of — a horde of zombies, just people as far as you could see just salivating and … ”
Blassingame and a colleague, Sidney Hemby, filed a lawsuit against former President Trump in March over physical and emotional injuries they say they suffered during the attack. They accuse Trump of inspiring and inflaming the rioters with baseless election fraud claims that eventually led to the insurrection.
Speaking of the blocked commission, Blassingame noted that he and his colleagues had protected members of Congress on Jan. 6 but that he did not think they had been extended the same support.
“We did our job. Like, no member of Congress was harmed, you know? And to have to see these people every day, and they don’t have our back, something as simple as just trying to find out what happened, so that it doesn’t happen again.”
It was “disheartening,” he said, that the story was being changed so that “it’s trying to make it seem something other than what it was.” Numerous Republican lawmakers have sought to whitewash or downplay the riot.
It should be very simple “just having a commission to find out what happened, so this doesn’t happen again,” he added.
“Because I personally feel that, again, this is something that there’s a very real threat moving forward.”
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