He said this to reporters on his way to the border in Texas today, adding that people think his remarks at last Wednesday’s incitement rally were “totally appropriate.” Which, ah, is not true, unless you happen to be a member of the group that was looking to riot.
My guess is he just talked himself into a few extra Republican votes for impeachment and removal in Congress.
At least he stressed that he wants no violence, although we’ll see how consistent that message remains after the impeachment vote is held.
"We want no violence, never violence, we want absolutely no violence," President Trump says in first comments to reporters since his supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol last week. Moments later he says the Democrats' impeachment efforts against him are "causing tremendous anger" pic.twitter.com/I74v7hoxXn
— CBS News (@CBSNews) January 12, 2021
What he’s calling for here is terrorist appeasement. He sounds like the leader of an Islamist group after Hamas blows up a bus in Israel: “Of course we do not condone violence, but you must understand that there is rage over these legitimate grievances…”
Brian Kilmeade, co-host of his favorite morning news show, also tried out a little on-air appeasement this morning. In any other situation it’d be unfathomable for a right-wing network to call for violent crazies to be placated. Only when the crazies are aligned with them somehow do they go wobbly:
Brian Kilmeade makes the right's main argument against impeachment: "This country is ready to explode. You saw what happened. You see the anger that the 74 million people feel." So "good leadership would bring down the temperature a little, look to turn the page, be inclusive…" pic.twitter.com/RILgPWRSsA
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) January 11, 2021
You know what would have brought down the temperature a little? Not mounting a two-month propaganda campaign based on conspiracy theories that the election was stolen. The entire period since November 3 has been one long sustained incitement drive. Now Pelosi — and maybe Liz Cheney — want Trump to face the barest consequences for it and Kilmeade’s suddenly worried about dissension.
I’ll say this for him and Trump, though. They’re certainly right to believe that further violence is possible. House Dems got a nightmare briefing about it last night:
And another demonstration, which three members said was by far the most concerning plot, would involve insurrectionists forming a perimeter around the Capitol, the White House and the Supreme Court, and then blocking Democrats from entering the Capitol ― perhaps even killing them ― so that Republicans could take control of the government…
Democrats were told that the Capitol Police and the National Guard were preparing for potentially tens of thousands of armed protesters coming to Washington and were establishing rules of engagement for warfare. In general, the military and police don’t plan to shoot anyone until one of the rioters fires, but there could be exceptions.
The risk of open combat around the Capitol is serious enough that Congress needs to be formally warned about it. But — it gets worse:
One topic of discussion was the need to put every member of Congress through a metal detector before the inauguration. A member on the call told HuffPost that there was an “eyes-wide-open realization” that Capitol Police needed to take precautions against “all these members who were in league with the insurrectionists who love to carry their guns.”
“You can’t just let them bypass security and walk right up to [Joe] Biden and [Kamala] Harris at inauguration,” this lawmaker told HuffPost.
They’re worried that a member of Congress might try to assassinate Biden. Is that Democratic hysteria or, in our insane new reality, a reasonable fear? I don’t know anymore. Some Capitol Police are under suspicion for having abetted the rioters by directing them around the building. This tweet was making the rounds last night:
EVIDENCE: This Coup Klux Klan member gave her terrorist friends the location of a woman second in line to the presidency during an attack on the Capitol. https://t.co/pjuaUTBJLB
— Rep. Eric Swalwell (@RepSwalwell) January 12, 2021
Why was MAGA diehard Lauren Boebert, who’s been demanding the right to carry a gun in Congress, tweeting about Pelosi’s whereabouts while a mob of Pelosi-haters was threatening Congress? Was she trying to steer the mob away from the House chamber to protect her colleagues? Or was she trying to help them find Pelosi by letting them know not to bother looking in the House chamber?
Such are the questions of which American politics in 2021 is made.
The way we’re going, Boebert’s not going to be the only one armed to the teeth on the Hill. Here’s another consequence of the “stop the steal” propaganda campaign:
Another GOP House member flew home expecting to be greeted by concerned constituents after he endured the attack last week. Instead, what he and GOP colleagues heard chilled them to the core: “Do you think that Congress got the message?”…
One GOP lawmaker who bucked Trump on the floor last week, Rep. Peter Meijer of Michigan, even suggested that fears for their personal safety had influenced some of his colleagues to support Trump’s challenges to the results of the election…
“Both parties have extremists,” said [a] GOP lawmaker. “There’s a difference in our crazy people and their crazy people. Our crazy people have an excessive amount of arms. They have gun safes. They have grenades. They believe in the Second Amendment. They come here and Trump’s made them think this is the Alamo.”
The dividing line within the GOP during the tea-party era was between RINOs and true conservatives. The dividing lines at the moment appear to be among terrorists, terrorist sympathizers, and anti-terrorists.
If Kilmeade wants to worry about something, he should worry about the array of people who fed the “stop the steal” hysteria and won’t face any consequences at all for it. Like this guy:
Words of a sitting congressman who denies responsibility for 1/6: “Call your congressman. You can lightly threaten them and say, if you don’t start supporting election integrity, I’m coming after you, Madison Cawthorn is coming after you.” Via @MurphinDC https://t.co/bmT6AYziHu
— Amy Gardner (@AmyEGardner) January 12, 2021
The one thing that might be useful in averting further violence would be Trump making a speech discouraging it, but he doesn’t have it in him and it may already be too late. His nuttier fans have been “activated.” The best one can realistically hope for is what he said in the clip up top, denouncing violence while encouraging fans to get even angrier. Deescalation isn’t part of his neural network, which is why no one’s seriously asking him to give a calming speech. If anything, he might wander rhetorically into some other form of incitement while delivering it. And since he has apologists like Kilmeade willing to shift the blame to Pelosi for the nightmare we’re in, why should he bother trying to make things better? Someone else will clean up the mess, as always.