Top Republican lawmakers criticized former President Donald Trump over his decision to highlight the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol during his first 2024 campaign rally.
“People who violated the law should be prosecuted. And they have been,” Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn told NBC News.
Trump kicked off his campaign event in Waco, Texas, with a song called “Justice for All,” performed by a choir of featuring individuals imprisoned for their roles in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.
Stay in the conversation on politics: Sign up for the OnPolitics newsletter
“I just frankly don’t understand this, you know, retrospective look,” he added. “When it comes to running for president or any other office, people don’t want you to relitigate all your grievances in the past. They want to know what your vision for the future is. And so, I don’t think it’s a formula for success.”
Footage from the insurrection as well as actors portraying rioters in jail cells played as the choir sang the national anthem, which was overlapped with a recording of Trump reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. The song and video are just the latest move by Trump to depict the Jan. 6 Capitol attack as a “peaceful” protest, continuing the narrative peddled by some Trump supporters.
'They're coming after you': Donald Trump attacks prospective indictment during Waco rally
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., an ally and staunch supporter of Trump, also disapproved of the move.
“There will be no effort on my part to whitewash Jan. 6," Graham said. "I think the best thing for President Trump to do is to focus on the problems people are facing today. There's no way you're gonna convince the American people that Jan. 6 was anything less than a horrible day in America."
Senate Minority Whip John Thune, who previously condemned the Jan. 6 violence, questioned Trump's decision.
"It’s living in the past,” Thune said, according to NBC News. “And I think most— more people want to hear about the things you’re going to do to make the future better and brighter for them.”
Attacks on investigations and DeSantis: Takeaways from Trump's first major 2024 campaign rally
'Everybody looks for an edge': Some GOP defend Trump. 'It's about winning'
While some Republican lawmakers spoke out against Trump's move to highlight the Jan. 6 rioters, others were more reserved in their response.
"I didn’t see it, but you know, when you do those rallies or you get into a campaign, you use all things at your disposal. I can’t say it’s good or bad, but I’m sure he’s trying to get people fired up,” Alabama Republican Sen. Tommy Tuberville said, according to NBC News.
“Everybody looks for an edge. Bottom line, it’s about winning,” he added.
Trump currently faces three civil lawsuits that accuse him of inciting the Jan 6. attack on the Capitol. However, the former president has argued that he deserves immunity from all the lawsuits, saying he urged participants to "peacefully and patriotically" protest the 2020 presidential election.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Trump blasted by GOP allies over Jan. 6 riot video, song during rally