On Sunday, a number of pictures began circulating on Twitter along with the claim that Republican Senate Candidate Kathy Barnette marched to the Capitol on January 6th alongside members of a prominent right-wing hate group, the Proud Boys.
After further investigation, NBC News verified these claims, adding that some of the Proud Boys she marched next to were later indicted for breaching the Capitol and assaulting officers.
At present, there is no evidence that Barnette herself breached the Capitol. According to her campaign “any assertion that she participated in or supported the destruction of property is intentionally false. She has no connection whatsoever to the Proud Boys.”
Of course, these statements contain intentionally vague language that blurs the lines about what constitutes “support” and what is or is not “participation” in a violent attempt to overthrow democracy in America.
Setting aside the carefully crafted language of the political spin machine, the simplest explanation is that marching shoulder to shoulder with a group can be reasonably interpreted as support for that group. It can also be interpreted as participation in that group.
That support and participation can be disavowed later, or deemed a regrettable mistake, but it cannot simply be erased, even by the most skilled public relations teams.
But while her campaign’s statement lacks any real accountability for her actions on the day of the insurrection, one part of her statement is clear: She says she didn’t break anything.
Our founding fathers, who are not reachable for comment, would likely disagree.