An apology from Congresswoman Sherrill is in order
Less than a week after the chaotic and unfortunate events at the Capitol building on January 6, New Jersey Democratic congresswoman Mikie Sherrill went public in a Facebook Live broadcast to make brazen accusations against Republican members of Congress. She claimed that she had witnessed them leading people through the Capitol building on January 5 in what she termed "reconnaissance for the next day."
In her video explaining to her constituents why she was voting for impeachment, she further took aim at members of Congress who she believed incited the violent crowd. She vowed she was "going to see that they're held accountable and if necessary, ensure that they don't serve in Congress."
With nearly three months now passed, Sherill has yet to proffer any evidence to back up her claims. Neither has law enforcement or federal prosecutors investigating the events of January 6 provided any support.
Sherrill's accusations are serious and should not go unheeded. What she did was to presume guilt with sweeping foregone conclusions based on what she thinks she observed. But she failed to specify whether the groups were President Trump–supporters or detail what took place with these visitors to signify they were actually conducting "reconnaissance" of the Capitol building in advance of the next day's events.
She further did not identify any of her Republican House colleagues or staff members who may have led these alleged "reconnaissance" tours, ascertain who was in the tour groups, or provide any details on how she knew they were connected to the incursion. But her narrative was clear: it was seditious behavior by House Republicans. Sherrill pledged that she was going to see that someone was "held accountable." Regardless of whether she deliberately went before a camera to make her claims with the express intent of attacking congressional Republicans or chose to appear in a hasty, ill considered reaction to the chaotic aftermath of the events of January 6, neither response is a good look for the congresswoman.
As a Naval Academy graduate who lived under that institution's Honor Code that stresses "fairness" and "integrity," Sherrill should have known better than to have gone public with her politically charged accusations before having locked down evidence of wrongdoing. If she were still wearing her service's uniform and had made such serious, unsubstantiated allegations against her fellow officers, she would surely have faced consequences in the form of professional repercussions, ostracism, or perhaps disciplinary action.
With no evidence to support her accusations yet presented, the honorable thing for Congresswoman Sherrill to do is to publicly apologize to her House Republican peers. If Sherrill will not formally apologize for her actions, Republicans should pursue her censure in Congress to put on record their formal disapproval of her conduct. Her colleagues, her constituents, and the American people should expect there to be consequences for a member of Congress who would make unfounded and unrepentant allegations that call into question another member's oath-sworn commitment to their nation.