The January 6 insurrection took place just three days into Rep Nancy Mace’s congressional career. Wanting to hit the ground running in Washington, the South Carolina freshman came up with an idea to “get punched in the face” to gain some traction with the media and bring attention to herself as hundreds of violent Trump supporters stormed the US Capitol unable to accept that their candidate had lost the 2020 election, according to a new report.
The last standing presidential candidate in the way of the increasingly inevitable third consecutive nomination of that candidate – former President Donald Trump – is his former UN ambassador and the ex-South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley. She endorsed Ms Mace, who represents the district where Ms Haley lives, in her 2022 race for her House seat against a challenger backed by Mr Trump.
But just this week, Ms Mace chose not to return the favour and endorsed Mr Trump.
Ms Mace was sworn in on 3 January 2021 with the idea of becoming a “new voice” for the GOP. During the attack on the US Capitol three days later, Ms Mace grew irate with Mr Trump, suggesting to her aides that she confront the rioters and “get punched in the face”, and as such become the frontperson for Republicans not supporting Mr Trump, former staffers said, according to The Washington Post.
Ms Mace told her staff during the Capitol riot that she was a “never-Trumper”. She made the suggestion to her staff regarding the possible confrontation as she was hiding with aides in her Cannon House building office, which is part of the Capitol complex, while they watched the rioters enter the congressional building on TV.
Her former aides told The Post that she thought that if there was footage being shared on social media showing her confronting the rioters, it would solidify her anti-Trump role, but her staff pushed back on this suggestion, pointing to guidance from US Capitol Police, and Ms Mace eventually relented.
“What you write doesn’t pass for real journalism,” Ms Mace told The Post when asked about the incident.
Three people also told The Daily Beast that Ms Mace said she wanted to “get punched in the face” on January 6, 2021.
“She literally begged us to let her leave the office and head to the floor so she could ‘get punched in the face’ and ‘get media attention,’” a former aide told the outlet. “That’s word for word what she requested.”
“She had been in office for three days, if that tells you anything about her motivation,” the ex-aide said, who told The Daily Beast that “several” people in the office heard Ms Mace’s suggestion.
The outlet noted in October that Ms Mace believes she could be Mr Trump’s running mate, even as an individual close to Mr Trump told The Daily Beast that the former president “absolutely hates Nancy Mace”.
In a 2021 strategy memo, she dubbed herself “THE freshman thought leader on federal issues” and referred to herself as “NATIONAL NANCY”.
A handbook drawn up for her staff reveals the top priority for Ms Mace is to get media attention, with staffers expected to send out a press release a day and also book her on a TV show daily.
“It is not normal for a member to prioritize media and comms over actual legislation like that,” an ex-staffer told The Daily Beast last year. “In my experience with and in other offices, comms serves to promote what the member is doing legislatively. In Mace’s office, legislation served to get her more media opportunities.”
The Independent has attempted to reach Ms Mace for comment.