Footage of Sen Josh Hawley running away from Capitol rioters hours after giving them a fist salute left the audience at the Jan 6 committee in splits.
Democratic congresswoman Elaine Luria revealed the video at a prime-time hearing on Thursday after first showing a photograph of Mr Hawley signalling his support to protesters before Congress met to certify the presidential election.
“As you can see in this photo, he raised his fist in solidarity with the protesters already amassing at the security gates,” she said.
The committee then played video footage of Mr Hawley running at a brisk pace through the Capitol building, then jogging down some stairs, as rioters entered the building.
The footage sparked a series of memes, remixes with iconic soundtracks and many other reactions on social media.
The committee room, full of reporters, congressional aides, security staff and visitors, erupted with laughter once the footage was played.
On social media, Mr Hawley is still being mocked in different ways, including being asked if he planned to “run” for the presidency.
“Y’all better run to the polls like Josh Hawley ran from the insurrection,” wrote Democratic political consultant Stephen Groves.
“From now on, if political reporters ask Josh Hawley if he’s planning to run, he’s going to have to ask them to clarify,” wrote journalist Gregg Kilday.
The post also sparked angry reactions from Democrats and their supporters who called Mr Hawley a “traitor” for inciting the mob that he later ran away from.
“Josh Hawley ran away from the mob he riled up. A traitor and a coward,” wrote Scott Dworkin, co-founder of the Democrat coalition.
“[Hawley]’s legacy will forever be fleeing from the same mob he helped incite,” wrote The Lincoln Project, a vocal political action committee formed by anti-Trump Republicans.
“Noted stunt queen Sen Josh Hawley encourages the Jan 6 mob, then runs away like a coward,” representative Malcolm Kenyatta wrote.
The House committee hearing revealed Mr Hawley’s action of encouraging the crowd on 6 January had “riled up” the crowd that day.
Mr Hawley was one of the first few Republicans to say he would object to results in key states won by Joe Biden in 2020 and has denied allegations that he encouraged the mob.