In a new book, the extremist Republican congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene claims no Democrats stayed in the House chamber on January 6 to help defend it against rioters sent by Donald Trump to block the certification of Joe Biden’s election win – a claim one Democrat who did stay labeled “patently false”.
Related: Offering to fight union leader was just ‘Oklahoma values’, senator claims
Greene’s book, MTG, will be published next week. The Guardian obtained a copy.
Describing January 6, Greene writes: “Several of the Republican congressmen said, ‘We’re going to stay right here and defend the House chamber.’ As they began barricading the door with furniture, I noticed not one Democrat was willing to stay to defend the chamber.”
But that version of events sits in stark contrast to others prominently including that of Jason Crow of Colorado, a Democratic congressman and former US army ranger who worked to help fellow representatives before being, by his own description, the last politician to leave.
Speaking to the Denver Post after the riot, Crow said: “They evacuated the folks on the floor but those of us in the gallery actually got trapped for like 20 minutes as the rioters stormed the stairwells and the doors.
“So, Capitol police actually locked the doors of the chamber and started piling furniture up on the doors to barricade them, while holding their guns out.
“I got into ranger mode a little bit. Most of the members didn’t know how to use the emergency masks, so I was helping them get their emergency masks out of the bags and helped instruct a bunch of folks on how to put it on and how to use it. I wasn’t going to leave the House floor until every member was gone, so I waited until we were able to get everybody out.”
On Wednesday, Crow told the Guardian: “Marjorie Taylor Greene doesn’t exist in the same reality as the rest of us. For those of us who were there on January 6 and actually defended the chamber from violent insurrectionists, her view is patently false. She doesn’t know what she’s talking about.”
Other Democrats have described how they tried to help.
In an oral history of January 6 by Business Insider, Raúl Grijalva, of Arizona, said: “You also saw members doing their part to facilitate our evacuation – Seth Moulton [of Massachusetts, a marines veteran], Ruben Gallego, and four or five others … who assumed a role of helping us to get out of there and working with the Capitol police to make sure that we were all safe.”
Gallego, also of Arizona and a former marine, told the same site: “Eventually what I did was I jumped up on a table and started giving instructions to people about how to open up the gas mask. We start seeing the doors being barricaded with furniture. We start hearing the noise of people – the insurrectionists – pounding on doors. Especially in the gallery.”
Greene’s book pursues her familiar conspiracy theory-laced invective, taking shots at targets including Democrats, the media and Lauren Boebert, another Republican extremist with whom Greene has fallen out.
Discussing January 6, three days after her swearing-in, Greene claims to have worked “tirelessly” on objections to key state results but to have been “utterly shocked” when rioters breached the Capitol.
Some Republicans, she says “carried concealed weapons and were ready to be good guys with guns, defending themselves and others if need be” – despite guns being banned in the House chamber. Greene says she tried to stay close to Clay Higgins of Louisiana, a former law enforcement officer who was “one of the armed Republican members of Congress exercising his second amendment rights that day”.
Describing instructions to put on hoods against possible exposure to teargas, Greene says she did not do so as she would not have been able to clearly hear or see.
“Many of the Democrats obligingly put theirs on and some were lying on the floor, hysterical,” she writes, describing a chamber “in complete and utter disarray”.
Pictures of the House on January 6 show Crow comforting Susan Wild of Pennsylvania, a Republican lying on the gallery floor. Other pictures show Republicans including Troy Nehls of Texas and Markwayne Mullin of Oklahoma helping to barricade doors.
According to the House January 6 committee, evacuation happened in stages. Democratic leaders including the speaker, Nancy Pelosi, were removed at the same time as Mike Pence, the vice-president. Kevin McCarthy, then Republican minority leader, soon followed. Evacuation of the rest of the House began at 2.38pm, members escaping as a rioter, Ashli Babbitt, was fatally shot by police.
“Members in the House gallery were evacuated after the members on the House floor,” the report says. “Congressional members in the gallery had to wait to be evacuated because rioters were still roaming the hallways right outside the chamber.
Related: Republican praises January 6 attacker’s ‘good faith and core principles’
“At 2.49pm, as members were trying to evacuate the House gallery, the [Capitol police] … cleared the hallways with long rifles so that the members could be escorted to safety … surveillance footage shows several rioters lying on the ground, with long rifles pointed at them, as members evacuate. By 3pm, the area had been cleared and members were evacuated … to a secure location.”
Greene claims rioters have since been mistreated. But she is not finished. A noted fitness enthusiast, she chooses to mock another Democrat, Jerry Nadler of New York, then the 73-year-old chair of the House judiciary committee.
“I saw that it was a problem that so many of our representatives were older and physically unable to run,” Greene writes. “How do you get them to safety when they cannot move quickly because of age, physical ailments or lack of physical fitness?
“Oh, and many were hysterical, with the plastic bags over their heads in fear of teargas and the little electric fans running so they couldn’t hear, either. Just imagine Jerry Nadler trying to run for safety!”