WASHINGTON – U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi cited on Friday the open display of antisemitic symbols at the Capitol riots as part of the motivation for launching a formal review into last week's violence.
"So many disgusting images, but one figure of a man and a shirt with Auschwitz on it: 'Work equals freedom,'" Pelosi said in a press conference from the Capitol.
"In January one year ago, I had the privilege of bringing a delegation to Yad Vashem in Israel to join heads of state – I came as the head of this Congress – to observe the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau," Pelosi continued.
"On the way to Israel, I brought the delegation to Auschwitz. Probably one of the most transformative national security visits – to see the dehumanizing of people that was perpetrated there was so overwhelming.
"To see this punk with that shirt on, and his antisemitism that he has bragged about to be part of a white supremacist raid on this capital, requires us to have an after action review. To assign responsibility to those who are part of organizing it and incentivizing it," Pelosi said.
Robert Keith Parker, the Virginia native who wore the shirt, which became one of the most ubiquitous symbols of the riots, was arrested by the FBI earlier this week on charges of unlawful entry and violent entry and disorderly conduct.
Pelosi added that if it is found that members of Congress were accomplices to the attacks, they should be prosecuted. She also named retired Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré to lead a security review of the riot.
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Federal prosecutors said Thursday in court filings that rioters intended "to capture and assassinate elected officials." FBI Director Chris Wray added that the FBI remains concerned about potential violence leading up to next week's presidential inauguration, and is tracking an "extensive amount of concerning online chatter."