Today the select committee to investigate the insurrection of January 6th gavels in for the first time. Capitol Police will testify about the attack, what they saw and heard from the mob, and how injuries inflicted linger to this day. North Dakota’s Congressman Kelly Armstrong would have been at the table had his leader Kevin McCarthy not pulled his appointment. Since McCarthy’s move, Armstrong has been making the national media circuit rounds. Yesterday, he appeared on CNN with Jake Tapper. Some of his commentary needs scrutiny.

First on Kevin McCarthy. In what was a questionable approach, he selected members like Jim Jordan and Jim Banks who have repeatedly lied about the election to serve on this select committee. Not only were they election liars, but they also rejected the certification of the electoral college following the attack. It isn’t hard to understand why their appointments were rightfully rejected by Pelosi. It is unfortunate McCarthy chose to pull all of the members he offered – including Armstrong – because of the targeted rejection of Jordan and Banks. But, let’s not be naïve to not think this may have been part of the plan to continue to tarnish this investigation as partisan and convince the public the outcome -whatever it may be – can’t be trusted.

Armstrong suggested as much in his comments to Jake Tapper when he said 50% of the country won’t believe the results of this “partisan” investigation. It is maddening to hear Armstrong continue to push the term “partisan” into every other sentence for this necessary investigation. Armstrong himself rejected the bipartisan commission to investigate the insurrection just two months ago. Senate GOP, including John Hoeven and Kevin Cramer ultimately defeated the bipartisan commission. Armstrong’s vote then undermines his commentary now.

It is also interesting to hear Armstrong complain about the process of the select committee appointments as though this is something new for him. Let’s take a step back to the North Dakota Legislature and the appointment process to committee membership. The NDGOP, with a clear super-majority, has rejected the Dem-NPL committee membership offerings at times. Don’t believe it? Ask the former Manager of Cass County Social Services and long-serving Legislator Kathy Hogan who was rejected by the NDGOP to serve on the Human Services Committee and forced to serve on the Agriculture Committee. The rejection was by vindictive House Leadership at the time. Nothing more than petty politics. Though Armstrong was in the Senate, the narrow hallway doesn’t prevent word from traveling between chambers. No doubt there are other examples. That wasn’t Washington, D.C. That was Bismarck, ND.

I was looking forward to Armstrong’s service on the committee, but had some questions. I wondered whether Armstrong would go wherever the facts led and tell the “hard truths” or follow in the footsteps of fellow potential appointee Jim Jordan. No longer serving on the committee because his leadership pulled his appointment, it is disappointing to see him mimic the latter in some of his recent commentary.

Tyler Axness
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