House Democrats, and a few Republicans, publicly condemned President Trump before impeaching him Wednesday, blaming him for the violence at the U.S. Capitol one week ago.
In sharp contrast, Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., in a fiery denunciation, charged that Democrats have lit “actual fires” in their attempts to destroy Trump’s presidency, including through bogus “collusion” claims and an impeachment prompted by an anonymous anti-Trump whistleblower who once worked for Joe Biden.
“The speaker said to us just moments ago ‘words matter,’ but apparently those words don’t matter when they’re uttered by Democrats,” he said. “When the gentlelady from Massachusetts calls for ‘unrest in the streets.’ When the gentlelady from California brazenly brags that she called for people to get in the faces of those who serve and support the president.
“I denounce political violence from all ends of the spectrum. But make no mistake, the left in America has incited far more political violence than the right. For months, our cities burned, police stations burned, our businesses were shattered, and they said nothing, or they cheer-led for it, they fundraised for it, and they allowed it to happen in the greatest country in the world.”
He noted “some have cited the metaphor that the president lit the flame, but they lit actual flames, actual fires, and we had to put them out!”
In fact, Kamala Harris, soon to be vice president, raised funds for people arrested for rioting after the death of George Floyd. Other Democrats routinely praised the rioters responsible for an estimated $2 billion in damages.
George Washington University law professor and commentator Jonathan Turley noted this week that Democrats have a long record of making “inciting” statements they insist are innocent.
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“Democrats are pushing this dangerously vague standard while objecting to their own statements being given incriminating meaning by critics. For example, conservatives have pointed to Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., calling for people to confront Republican leaders in restaurants; Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., insisted during 2020’s violent protests that ‘there needs to be unrest in the streets,’ while then-Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., said ‘protesters should not let up’ even as many protests were turning violent. They can all legitimately argue that their rhetoric was not meant to be a call for violence, but this is a standard fraught with subjectivity,” he said.
Catholic League President Bill Donohue last week argued that Trump never instructed anyone to engage in violence while conceding, as critics say, that he “stoked people’s passions.”
But if “inflammatory rhetoric” is the standard, he said, “then Trump’s critics are at best ethically compromised.”
He pointed out Barack Obama in 2008 said: “I need you to get out and talk to your friends and talk to your neighbors. I want you to talk to them whether they are independent or whether they are Republican. I want you to argue with them and get in their face.”
And his attorney general, Eric Holder, said in 2018: “When they go low, we kick ’em. That’s what this new Democratic Party is about.”
Waters went much further in 2018.
“Let’s make sure we show up wherever we have to show up. And if you see anybody from that [Trump] Cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and create a crowd,” she told a raucous crowd. “And you push back on them. And you tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere.”
Rep. Cory Booker, D-N.J., said last year, “Please, get up in the face of some Congress people.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi downplayed leftists rioting, saying, “People will do what they do.”
Donohoe also cited Pressley, who said, “You know, there needs to be unrest in the streets for as long as there is unrest in our lives, and unfortunately there is plenty to go around.”
And Harris said: “They’re [left-wing protesters] not gonna stop before Election Day in November and they’re not gonna stop after Election Day. And that should be—everyone should take note of that on both levels, that this isn’t, they’re not gonna let up and they should not. And we should not.”
Donohoe concluded: “Many more examples could be given. In fairness, these comments, while incendiary, are not direct calls for violence. But it is also true that nothing Trump said was a direct call for violence either.”
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