House Speaker Kevin McCarthy defended Capitol Police officer Lieutenant Michael Byrd, who shot and killed unarmed Trump supporter Ashli Babbitt during the January 6th, 2021 riot at the Capitol.
It’s quite the different story than the one told by his new buddy in Congress, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, who said during a meeting of the House Oversight and Accountability Committee on Tuesday that Babbitt was “murdered.”
“Ashli Babbitt has, there’s never been a trial,” Greene said. “As a matter of fact, no one has cared about the person that shot and killed her and no one in this Congress has really addressed that issue.”
McCarthy was asked by a HuffPost reporter if he agreed with Greene’s sentiments.
“I think the police officer did his job,” he admitted.
REPORTER: “Do you think Ashli Babbit was murdered, or do you think the police officer who shot her was doing his job?”
MCCARTHY: “I think the police officer did his job.” pic.twitter.com/9eaJaAz5Yk
— Townhall.com (@townhallcom) February 2, 2023
Kevin McCarthy Defends Officer Who Shot Ashli Babbitt
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Babbitt, a Trump supporter and Air Force veteran, was the only person killed during the riot when she was gunned down.
Capitol Police officer Lieutenant Michael Byrd identified himself as the shooter in an interview with “NBC Nightly News” anchor Lestor Holt.
He said taking down Babbitt, who was unarmed but tried to climb through broken glass into the House chamber, showed the “utmost courage.”
Lt. Michael Byrd, who shot Trump supporter Ashli Babbitt during the Capitol riot, says he has been in hiding for months after he received a flood of death threats and racist attacks.
“I believe I showed the utmost courage on Jan. 6 and it’s time for me to do that now” pic.twitter.com/2kaAxy8yGc
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) August 26, 2021
Internal documents from DC Metropolitan Police, obtained through a FOIA lawsuit by the conservative group Judicial Watch, show witnesses had not seen Babbitt holding a weapon.
They also provide conflicting reports as to whether she was verbally warned before being fired upon by Byrd.
Texas Representative Troy Nehls said the findings could have led to manslaughter charges for Byrd, if not worse, though that is debateable.
Lt. Michael Byrd would have been charged for manslaughter — if not murder — had he shot Ashli Babbitt in Texas.
She was unarmed and presented no threat to herself or the officer.
— Congressman Troy E. Nehls (@RepTroyNehls) October 13, 2021
The revelations also prompted Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton to declare there was “no good reason” to shoot Babbitt.
“The Biden-Garland Justice Department … have much to answer for over the mishandling and cover-up of this scandalous killing of an American citizen by the U.S. Capitol Police,” Fitton said.
Judicial Watch announced that it received 532 pages of documents from the DC Metropolitan Police about the shooting death of Ashli Babbitt on January 6, 2021, in the U.S. Capitol Building. READ: https://t.co/t5WEH4ydwy pic.twitter.com/bwXbGDheXE
— Judicial Watch ⚖️ (@JudicialWatch) October 18, 2021
Trump Fires Back
Former President Donald Trump said he “totally disagree(s)” with McCarthy’s assessment, calling Byrd a “coward” and insisting Ashli Babbitt “was murdered.”
Byrd, he claimed “was not just ‘doing his job’ when he shot and killed Great Patriot Ashli Babbitt at point blank range,” Trump said on his Truth Social media platform.
“He was not a hero but a COWARD, who wanted to show how tough he was,” the Republican presidential candidate insisted. “ASHLI BABBITT WAS MURDERED!!!”
Byrd, though, had been cleared of any criminal wrongdoing and was cleared internally by the Capitol Police Department in August of 2021.
The internal review “determined the officer’s conduct was lawful and within Department policy,” according to a statement by Capitol Police, and as such he would not face disciplinary action.
Babbitt’s family’s lawyer has argued that she was “not an imminent threat of death or serious injury to anyone.”
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