Rep. Barbara Comstock.
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- Ex-Rep. Barbara Comstock asked why it’s been mostly women who’ve cooperated with the Jan. 6 committee.
- She told Politico that “cleaning up Trump’s mess — ketchup and all — is assumed to be women’s work!”
- The Virginia Republican said she has spoken to some former Trump aides who have publicly defied him.
Former Republican Rep. Barbara Comstock questioned the men in former President Donald Trump’s orbit as many of his younger female aides offer devastating testimony to the January 6 committee.
“I guess cleaning up Trump’s mess — ketchup and all — is assumed to be women’s work!” Comstock, who lost her Northern Virginia seat in the Democratic wave in the 2018 midterms, told Politico.
Comstock, who has been critical of Trump, was commenting on the testimony of former Trump White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson who told the panel investigating the Capitol attack that Trump threw his lunch against the wall, in response to Attorney General Bill Barr saying there was no widespread election fraud. (Trump has denied that this happened.)
Hutchinson, who is just 26, is a part of a handful of former aides that have either testified before the January 6 panel or publicly criticized Trump. Politico reported that former Trump White House communications director Alyssa Farah Griffin, ex-White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham, former deputy press secretary Sarah Matthews, and former Trump national security official Olivia Troye have all bonded over how isolating it can be to publicly criticize their former boss.
“It is a lonely space to come forward and part of it for me was to make sure that they knew that even though it feels lonely – they bully, they intimidate, they want to make you feel like there’s no one left in the world, that’s kind of the point – for me it was important for them to know I wasn’t going to waver on them and there would be others,” said Troye, a former top aide to Vice President Mike Pence who blasted Trump’s COVID-19 response.
Comstock told the outlet that she has also gotten to know some in the group. The Virginia Republican also blasted some of Trump’s more senior male aides for refusing or being slow to speak with the committee. Former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows initially cooperated with the investigation but has since refused and been held in contempt.
Former White House counsel Pat Cipollone previously appeared before the committee in April. The New York Times reported that panel sought additional testimony for weeks before lawmakers subpoenaed him late last month. Committee vice chair Liz Cheney, the panel’s top Republican, also repeatedly publicly urged Cipollone to testify. Cipollone sat for a day-long interview under oath last week.
“I’ve had women friends contact me to say they want to support these women because they are the kind of stand-up women we’d all like to have as staff and hope we were as staff or members. And they know it can be lonely when you stand up,” Comstock said. She added that Cipollone “had to be dragged to testify after Cassidy.”
A source close to Cipollone’s attorney pushed back on any suggestion that the former White House counsel hasn’t cooperated with the investigation.
“Mr. Cipollone has complied with the committee which has recognized the serious institutional concerns and privilege issues with respect to his testimony,” the source told Insider.
The loose group’s defiance has not gone unnoticed. Cheney previously said she has been “moved” by the actions of unnamed “young women.”
“It is especially the young women, young women who seem instinctively to understand the peril of this moment for our democracy, and young women who know that it will be up to them to save it,” Cheney said during a speech at the Ronald Reagan presidential library earlier this month.
“And I have been incredibly moved by the young women that I have met and that have come forward to testify in the January 6th Committee. Some of these are young women who worked on the Trump campaign, some worked in the Trump White House, some who worked in offices on Capitol Hill, all who knew immediately that what happened that day must never happen again.”