‘Truth is, Ashli was manipulated by people like you’, says GOP colleague amid attacks on Capitol police by Trump-backers
Mr Gosar told a hearing on Tuesday that Ms Babbitt had been “executed” by an unidentified officer from the Capitol Police Department, who he said “appeared to be hiding” before firing at her in a hallway of Congress.
The comments immediately fell foul of Adam Kinzinger who called his GOP colleague “sick” for “manipulating” the GOP’s base with false allegations. As did others.
“You’re sick Paul, sadly,” tweeted Mr Kinzinger on Tuesday. “Truth is, Ashli was manipulated by people like you”.
“[She] breached an area and put lives in danger despite being repeatedly warned not to. The real criminals are the liars abusing people for political power,” the congressman added.
In April, the US justice department said the officer – who is not facing charges – fired at Ms Babbitt “in self-defence or in defence of the Members of Congress and others”.
She was attempting to climb through a broken window after breaking into Congress, before she was fatally shot and was transferred to hospital where she died.
Four others, including a Capitol police officer, died as a result of the riot – which was carried out based on former US president Donald Trump’s allegations of election fraud.
During an appearance on Fox News on Saturday, Ms Babbitt’s husband told anchor Tucker Carlson he was calling for the Capitol Police Department to identify the officer who fired at his wife.
That demand was repeated by Mr Gosar on Tuesday, despite the GOP congressman backing Mr Trump’s baseless claims of a “stolen” election in the weeks before 6 January.
Liz Cheney, another Trump-critic and member of the GOP, added after Tuesday’s hearing that her colleague was “disgusting and despicable” for changing his story and for criticising the Capitol police officer who fired at Ms Babbitt.
“On January 6, as the violent mob advanced on the House chamber, I was standing near Rep Gosar and helped him open his gas mask,” tweeted Ms Cheney. “The Capitol Police led us to safety.”
“It is disgusting and despicable to see Gosar lie about that day and smear the men and women who defended us.”
Mr Gosar has been approached for further comment by The Independent.