Former President Donald J. Trump’s impeachment trial this week is a coordinated effort by the mainstream media, Never Trump Republicans, Silicon Valley and elected Democrats to punish and humiliate his followers. It’s designed to purge 74 million voices from the public square.
Don’t believe me?
Last week, Nicolle Wallace on MSNBC suggested the Biden administration should look into using drone strikes against MAGA-loving Americans to help discourage protests. The Washington Post’s Eugene Robinson and journalist Katie Couric have both questioned how one can “deprogram” Trump supporters.
CNN’s Jake Tapper justified impeachment on his Sunday show by saying, “If there’s no accountability and no attempt by the Republican Party to stop these insane lies that have taken root in their party … This is not going to be the end of MAGA terrorism, this will only be the beginning.”
Using one day’s terrible event to make the point that we’re just at the “beginning” of “MAGA terrorism” is a baseless accusation by Mr. Tapper.
Let’s be clear. A fringe group of Trump supporters did storm the Capitol on Jan. 6, but they in no way represent the 74 million Americans who voted for him and have legitimate concerns about election integrity and the direction of our country.
There was zero chance our government was going to be overthrown, no possibility AOC was going to be murdered, no evidence (yet presented) that these “armed rebels” were even brandishing firearms, or future “insurrections” are imminent.
What this melodrama is creating, however, is a severely authoritarian reaction by the left to silence one half of the country.
The Biden administration has convened an intelligence group to combat domestic violent extremism, where the DNI will oversee a “comprehensive threat assessment,” and the NSC will build a capability to counter extremism and disrupt extremist networks.
Anyone who followed how the Obama administration weaponized these agencies against Mr. Trump’s 2016 presidential bid by falsifying a FISA warrants, should have grave concerns.
Just last month President Biden’s Department of Justice arrested Douglass Mackey, a right-wing Twitter troll, for posting memes. The DOJ claims Mr. Mackey’s twitter feed had the effect of oppressing, threatening, or intimidating potential Hillary Clinton supporters.
Silicon Valley is also playing its part. More than 70,000 right-leaning accounts have been purged on Twitter “to protect the conversation on our service from attempts to incite violence, organize attacks, and share deliberately misleading information about the election outcome,” the company said.
Parler, the right-wing social media application, was de-platformed and congressional Democrats have requested the FBI investigate its role as a potential facilitator of the planning or inciting violence at the Capitol.
Meanwhile, Facebook, Twitter and Google continue to operate freely (even as evidence shows their platforms were more widely used than Parler as an organizing tool) because of their willingness to bow to their Democratic overlords by flagging, banning and censoring mostly conservative voices.
Alex Stamos, the former chief security officer for Facebook suggested on CNN that AT&T, Comcast and other cable providers, should rethink their carriage of right-wing outlets like Fox News and Newsmax, because of the “disinformation,” being spewed them. The Washington Post’s Margaret Sullivan echoed similar thoughts.
Meanwhile, the political left continues to enjoy their speech — even as they encourage their supporters to riot and “create a crowd” to “push back” on Trump political appointees.
As many as 95 percent of last summer’s riots were linked to Black Lives Matter activism, according to data collected by the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED). As a result, there were 47 fatalities between May 26 and Sept. 5 and hundreds of small businesses were burned or destroyed, according to the group.
Instead of condemning BLM violence, the left cheered it on, and the mainstream media ignored it. Vice President Kamala Harris said riots are “not going to let up, and they should not” and encouraged her supporters to bail out looters and others arrested during the chaos.
In July, Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez killed a resolution from Republican Sen. Mike Lee condemning mob violence. Mr. Menendez said at the time, “The resolution reeks of supremacism. Reeks of supremacist views. And it seeks to mischaracterize overwhelmingly peaceful protests across the nation.”
Those involved in rioting have also been prosecuted differently. Authorities in Washington, D.C. last year dropped nearly all charges against hundreds of BLM rioters for crimes such as destruction of property and assaulting police officers yet have charged more than 200 Trump supporters at the Capitol, with the FBI describing its effort as a “24/7, full bore extensive operation.”
All rioting should be condemned and prosecuted, period. But don’t be fooled — there is a double-standard when it comes to political speech. And if you’re a Trump supporter, you better beware.
• Kelly Sadler is Commentary editor of The Washington Times.
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