Rep. Van Orden’s alleged presence at Jan. 6 insurrection largely disproven

Reimagining an Article about Derrick Van Orden and the January 6th Insurrection

Reimagining an Article about Derrick Van Orden and the January 6th Insurrection

The Controversy Surrounding Derrick Van Orden’s Alleged Participation in the January 6th Insurrection

When Rebecca Cooke, a small business owner and nonprofit founder, entered the race against first-term Republican U.S. Rep. Derrick Van Orden, she wasted no time in launching a scathing attack. Cooke accused Van Orden of being one of the few members of Congress who participated in the deadly January 6th insurrection. According to Cooke, Van Orden now serves in the very building he allegedly tried to burn down.

Examining the Basis of the Claim

Cooke’s claim is based on a tweet she made on September 1, 2023, on X (formerly known as Twitter). When asked for evidence to support this claim, Cooke’s spokesperson, Charly Norton, referred to a television appearance by Van Orden. In this appearance, Van Orden allegedly admitted to participating in the insurrection, being photographed on Capitol grounds during the event, and using campaign funds to attend it.

Checking the Record

Let’s examine the facts. According to the Washington Post, Van Orden, a retired Navy SEAL, was present at the rally on January 6, 2021. However, in a column for the LaCrosse Tribune, Van Orden explained that he left the area when the protest turned into a riot. He clarified that he never entered the Capitol building and did not support the unlawful conduct taking place. In a later interview with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Van Orden expressed regret for attending the rally, as he didn’t want anyone to think he endorsed political violence.

The Dispute Over Van Orden’s Proximity to the Capitol

The question remains: how close was Van Orden to the Capitol during the January 6th attack? Van Orden maintains that he stood on the parapet along the perimeter of the grounds, approximately 450 meters away from the Capitol. However, The Daily Beast claims to have recreated a photo Van Orden posted on Facebook, suggesting that he and his friends were in an area beyond police barricades. While Van Orden denies being in a restricted area, crossing police barricades to reach such an area would be against the law.

Repercussions for Van Orden

In a separate issue, Cooke’s campaign accused Van Orden of using campaign funds to travel to Washington for the rally. However, the Federal Election Commission dismissed a complaint alleging misuse of funds, citing the relatively small amount of money ($4,022.72) used for the trip.

Evaluating the Veracity of Cooke’s Claim

Based on the available information, it is clear that Cooke’s claim goes too far and lacks sufficient evidence. While Van Orden did attend the rally, he left before the violence unfolded and has expressed regret for being there. The Daily Beast’s photo raises questions about Van Orden’s proximity to the Capitol, but it does not definitively prove his participation in the insurrection. Therefore, Cooke’s assertion that Van Orden attempted to burn down the building is unfounded.

Sources: Washington Post, Newsweek, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, USA Today

Read More of this Story at – 2023-10-11 13:04:12

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