Dem rep: I'm not surprised to see Trump taking sides against peaceful protesters like ... Antifa

Via the Free Beacon, the typical spin from mainstream liberals is that Antifa is a group so small, inconsequential, and disorganized that it can’t even properly be described as a “group.” As such, worrying about it can only be an act of bad faith by the right, an attempt to distract from white nationalist violence. That Antifa might send a journalist to the hospital with a brain injury from time to time is neither here nor there. The fact remains that they’re like six kids from Portland.

Focus your attention on the right’s fringe, not ours.

What’s odd, and ominous, about this more ambitious spin from freshman Rep. Deb Haaland is that it whitewashes violence by Antifa *while also* implicitly justifying it. The people who confronted right-wing groups in Portland yesterday were “peaceful protesters,” Haaland asserts — which certainly wasn’t uniformly true…

…but it’s the word “safeguard” in her spiel that’s especially fragrant. What does that mean in context?

“This is on par with what the president does. He sides with the white supremacists, he sides with the white nationalists, with the domestic terrorists in our country,” Haaland said. “He’s incited violence against people of color. Portland is a progressive city. They want to ensure that they keep their city moving forward.”

“It’s not surprising that Trump would side away from the folks who are the peaceful protesters working to safeguard their city from domestic terrorism. Just not surprised at all that the president sides with the white nationalists,” Haaland continued. “That’s been his mode of operation since before he was elected president.”

Normally when we refer to “folks who are … working to safeguard their city from domestic terrorism,” we’re referring to the police. What Haaland’s doing here is lending that same sort of legitimacy to Antifa’s tactics, as if they’re some sort of neighborhood watch outfit and not a left-wing gang eager to bludgeon right-wing counterparts — and the occasional skeptical reporter, like Andy Ngo. Antifa rationalizes its own violence by insisting that it’s a matter of self-defense, that its fascist enemies surely will use violence against others *eventually* whether or not they’re doing so at a particular moment, in which case it’s within its rights to try to beat them into submission while it has the chance. Haaland’s making the same core point: If there are domestic terrorists in your midst then you’ve gotta do what you gotta do in order to “safeguard” your city. This is now a view that’s sufficiently mainstream as to be mouthed on television by a sitting member of Congress.

We shouldn’t be surprised. If the country is far enough along into its Weimar period to have gangs of ideologues swinging at each other in the streets, it’s far enough along to have members of the legislature defending their own side’s gang. Thirteen people were arrested in Portland yesterday, by the way. A half-dozen were injured.