Who Had the Metal Detectors Removed From the Capitol?

Before the incoming right-wing House of Representatives majority could elect a new Speaker, metal detectors were removed from the Capitol floor on January 3 2023 — but it is unclear who ordered it to happen.

The devices were installed outside of the House chambers on January 12 2021, six days after the January 2021 coup attempt at the United States Capitol that sought to stop the certification of U.S. President Joe Biden’s electoral victory.

Fact Check

Claim: The metal detectors were removed from the Capitol by the incoming right-wing House majority

Description: The claim states that the incoming right-wing House of Representatives majority had the metal detectors removed from the Capitol on January 3, 2023. However, it is unclear who specifically ordered such action.

Rating: Uncertain

Rating Explanation: The information available does not conclusively prove or disprove who ordered the removal of the metal detectors. While various sources attribute the removal to Republican officials or the party itself, no specific individual has been officially confirmed as responsible.

But as Semafor reported, videos taken inside the building began appearing online on the morning that the Republican Party took control of the House:

Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colorado), who had complained about the installation of the metal detectors, posted a video celebrating their removal:

The metal detectors had been installed at the direction of then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi; the Washington Post and other outlets attributed the move to “Republican officials” or to the party itself, but without a House Speaker being elected it is unclear who ordered the removal or how the process would unfold.

We contacted the offices of both incumbent House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy of California and House Republican Conference chair Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York seeking comment, but have yet to hear back.

McCarthy became a story in and of himself following the removal of the metal detectors, as he failed to receive enough votes from his own party majority to be formally elected House Speaker. As the Associated Press reported, McCarthy’s total of 203 was even less than the 212 votes for Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) in one ballot. As PBS summarized:

With just 222 GOP seats, McCarthy could afford to lose only a handful of their votes. A speaker can win with fewer than 218 votes, as Pelosi and [John] Boehner did, if some lawmakers are absent or simply vote present.

But McCarthy has failed to win over a core — and potentially growing — group of right-flank Republicans led by the conservative Freedom Caucus, despite weeks of closed-door meetings and promised changes to the House rules.

There have already been three failed votes to elect the Speaker as of the afternoon of January 3 2023.