Like pretty much all conservatives, I have consistently criticized riots and other forms of political violence for many years. That includes yesterday’s Washington, D.C. riot. You can’t say the same about liberals, however. Until yesterday, one might have thought that liberals consider rioting and other forms of political violence to be as American as apple pie.
You could write a book in support of that proposition, but for now let’s cite just a few examples. Do you remember when President Trump was inaugurated on January 20, 2017? Leftist Democrats rioted in Washington that day. That riot was arguably worse, more violent and more destructive, than what happened in D.C. yesterday. The liberal rioters destroyed stores, set vehicles on fire and battled with the police. Six police officers were wounded. Here is a video reminder:
I don’t recall a single Democratic office-holder denouncing the Democrats’ Inauguration Day riot, and the Associated Press came perilously close to praising the rioters.
Over the ensuing four years, Antifa and Black Lives Matter rioted countless times, bringing devastation to cities like Portland, Seattle, Kenosha and Minneapolis. Did any Democrats denounce these riots? Not that I remember. Many Democrats endorsed them, or seemed to do so. Kamala Harris, for example, said about the riots in June:
They’re not going to stop. They’re not going to stop. This is a movement, I’m telling you. They’re not gonna stop. And everyone beware because they’re not gonna stop. They’re not gonna stop before Election Day and they’re not going to stop after Election Day. And everyone should take note of that. They’re not gonna let up and they should not.
This was after 12 people had been killed in Democrat-sanctioned rioting, and billions of dollars in destruction committed. Have any Democrats denounced Black Lives Matter for its role in the riots? Not one. Has any Democrat denounced Antifa? Not that I know of, and some, like Keith Ellison, have specifically endorsed Antifa’s political violence.
Democratic Party journalists have joined the party’s politicians in excusing riots. The New York Times, for example, published an admiring profile of Antifa. The Washington Post, likewise, has carried water for Antifa.
The litany could go on for a long time. Yesterday’s assault on the Capitol was outrageous, but let’s not forget that last time out-of-control demonstrators interrupted business at the Capitol, shouted down senators and pounded on the doors of the Supreme Court, it was Democrats objecting to the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.
And speaking of assaults on capitols, did any Democrats object when leftists occupied the Wisconsin Capitol in Madison for four months, destroying property, impeding public business and violently assaulting conservatives? Not a peep.
Minnesota’s capitol has come under attack, too–or at least, Republicans who tried to gather there. In March 2017, Antifa Democrats besieged the state Capitol:
On March 4, Antifa members…flooded the Capitol building to disrupt local Trump supporters who were gathering in conjunction with the national March 4 Trump movement.
Many Antifa members attempted to conceal their identity by covering their faces with bandanas and goggles. [T]he rioters used mace, tasers, smoke bombs, and firecrackers on members of the pro-Trump rally, and punched others in the face.
One of those arrested and prosecuted for carrying out this criminal violence was Linwood Kaine, son of Senator and Vice-presidential nominee Tim Kaine. Yawn. Democrats couldn’t be bothered to criticize rioting by their own supporters, let alone their own family members.
And let’s not forget James Hodgkinson, even though every reporter in America apparently has. Hodgkinson was the Bernie Sanders campaign volunteer who tried to assassinate the entire House Republican baseball team and very nearly succeeded, inflicting grievous and permanent injuries on Congressman Steve Scalise. Hodgkinson was not the usual 20-something loner, he was a middle-aged union official who was not insane, but just full of hate. His Facebook page was festooned with over-the-top attacks on Republicans, taken directly from speeches by Bernie Sanders and every other prominent Democrat.
Sanders issued a one or two line statement distancing himself from his volunteer’s would-be murder spree. But neither Sanders nor any other Democrat wondered whether Hodgkinson’s attack was related to their own crazed conspiracy theories (Russia hoax, etc.) and other lies that they routinely direct against Republicans.
This could go on and on, but the point is obvious: Democratic Party politicians and reporters have no standing to complain about political violence (let alone mostly peaceful protests) until they get their own house in order.
Today we are awash in ritual denunciations of President Trump, based on yesterday’s riot. Democratic House members have introduced new articles of impeachment, which I assume charge him with responsibility for the disorder. Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi have urged Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment, alleging that President Trump is disabled or incompetent so as to remove him from office.
These initiatives are ridiculous on their face. Trump will be out of office in a matter of days, long before any such “remedies” could be implemented, even if they were even remotely warranted. What is going on, obviously, is not an attack on Trump, but on his legacy. The Democrats–aided and abetted by some Republicans, unfortunately–are trying to discredit the president so thoroughly that not just his personality, or unjustifiable acts like his apparent encouragement of those who “wouldn’t stand for” the Democrats’ widespread voter fraud are denounced, but, far more important, his many accomplishments in office.
Trump was, despite his flaws, a very good president. He has impressive achievements to his name, almost all of which the Democrats want to reverse, to the great prejudice of the American people. This is what Chuck Schumer et al. are trying to achieve–a comprehensive repudiation of Trump’s positive legacy.
Tax cuts? Discredited! An America-First foreign policy? Discredited! Enforcing the immigration laws, which is the president’s constitutional duty? Discredited! Stopping the China sellout? Discredited! Standing up to Russia? Discredited! Supporting the Israelis? Discredited! Cutting back on unproductive federal regulations? Discredited! Encouraging U.S. energy production and independence? Discredited! Objecting to political correctness and cancel culture? Discredited! Standing up for America as a positive force in world history? Discredited!
It is blindingly obvious that in the last days of the Trump administration, the Democrats are laying the groundwork for a comprehensive repudiation of the considerable achievements of the last four years, tying them all to Trump’s sometimes-unfortunate personality, and in particular to yesterday’s riot, which was small beer compared with countless riots that the Democrats have either cheered on or indulgently tolerated.
What is important for conservatives is not to defend Donald Trump’s personality, still less the events of the last 24 hours, but rather to defend, aggressively, the solid achievements of an administration that surmounted four years of hysterical and dishonest obstructionism by the Democrats. It is unfortunate that some Republicans, joining in the Democrats’ hyena troop, do not seem to understand this.
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