President Trump has done a number of great things for this country: lowering taxes to put more money in American’s pockets while simultaneously increasing government revenues, allowing America to export energy for the first time since 1952 (while drastically cutting back on carbon emissions), and brokering historic peace deals in the Middle East. However, Trump has also brought to the table a willingness to abandon proper principles—and this is where conservatives should split with him.
During the summer of 2020, when it was common to see buildings burned to the ground, stores ransacked and looted, and police officers injured or killed, Trump and the Republican Party correctly used the strongest possible language to condemn these riots and exercised their available options to shut them down.
Conversely, when it came to the rioters, the Democratic Party took a much softer approach, to say the least. Then presidential candidate Joe Biden was silent on the riots for so long that even CNN’s Don Lemon realized it was hurting him in the polls, and begged him to address the problem.
Meanwhile, Biden’s running mate, Kamala Harris, urged her followers to donate to a fund that bailed rioters out of jail (as well as alleged child abusers and domestic violence perpetrators). To simplify, Trump took the proper stance of “rioters are bad,” and Democrats took the less than proper stance of “rioters aren’t that bad.”
These stances flipped on their heads when, on January 6th, Trump supporters breached the Capitol building. Biden strongly rebuked the rioters, while Trump attempted to play both sides, sympathizing with the rioters’ frustrations and calling them “very special,” but also telling them to disband peacefully. Notably, Trump also hesitated to call in the national guard, to the point where Vice President Mike Pence had to take charge in calling reinforcements.
Both Trump’s rhetoric and his actions stand in stark contrast to his BLM riot response, when he referred to those rioters as “thugs,” and willingly sent the national guard to quell demonstrations. So Trump and the Democrats have reversed their positions. Now, Democrats are saying “rioters are bad,” while Trump is saying “rioters aren’t that bad.”
This is where everyone must understand that sticking to principles is important. One obvious principle that should be shared is the belief that rioting is unacceptable. It’s unacceptable when Black Lives Matter activists burn down cities and loot businesses. It’s also unacceptable when right-wingers break into the Capitol building.
Conservatives must not abandon their principles in order to let Trump off the hook for this one. We were rightfully blasting Biden, Harris, and the Democrats for being soft on rioters, and now we must do the same to Trump. This doesn’t mean that everything Trump has accomplished over the last four years goes out the window, but there are too many people on the right who are unable to criticize him—even when he is in the wrong.
However, while Trump may be in the wrong here, Democrats most certainly do not have a leg to stand on in accusing him of softly encouraging riots at the Capitol building. In addition to the affirmations that Biden and Harris displayed for the BLM rioters, let us not forget all of the other times when the left either quietly or openly encouraged violent resistance.
Chris Cuomo, leftist “news” anchor at CNN and brother of New York’s Democratic Governor, asked his audience to “show me where it says protesters are supposed to be polite and peaceful.” Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D., Massachusetts) said that, in order to hold Republicans accountable, “there needs to be unrest in the streets.” When talking with reporters about immigration policies, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D., California) said, “I just don’t know why there aren’t uprisings all over the country, and maybe there will be.”
So I don’t want to hear from Democrats about how Trump is so much worse than they are because of his reaction to the Capitol riots. When it was their supporters doing the rioting, they didn’t even come close to issuing true condemnations.
One other disgusting talking point that has circulated social media, and was repeated by now President Biden, was the idea that if it had been BLM protestors at the Capitol (rather than right-wingers), they would’ve been treated “very, very differently.” The level of ignorance that one would have to achieve in order to believe this is truly shocking.
In reality, Biden is intentionally furthering the division of Americans by race, by telling black people that they should be more fearful of the police than white people. All one has to do in order to test his hypothesis is to look at the uses of force between the Capitol riots and the BLM riots. Even though the BLM riots lasted for much longer and involved exponentially more people, there were exactly zero instances of police shooting any of the rioters, even as buildings burned to the ground and shops were looted.
Meanwhile, out of the hundreds of people who stormed into the Capitol building, there actually was a rioter shot and killed by police. In addition, one of the police tactics BLM supporters were complaining about was the use of tear gas, which was also used against the Capitol rioters (no word yet on if the ACLU is planning to sue the Capitol Police for doing so). Thus, there is no factual basis for Biden to claim that the outcome would have been different based on the color of the rioters’ skin; we already know that’s not true.
The important lesson that the right must learn from these events is that we need to treat politicians with the same amount of scrutiny—no matter who they are or what letter they have next to their name. If we allow Trump to go soft on rioters just because they’re his supporters, not only are we doing the wrong thing, but we become just as hypocritical as those on the left. If we abandon our principles, we have no leg to stand on when criticizing those on the left for doing the same thing.
There’s no way to say it’s wrong for leftists to support BLM riots or even for Biden to support racial division, without first calling Trump out for being a hypocrite. When it came down to it, Trump cared more about what side of the aisle the rioters were than using his power to shut them down, and that cannot be brushed to the side. It would be refreshing to see more of his supporters acknowledging this fact and condemning him for it, and this will likely be a prerequisite for conservatives to continue winning elections in the coming years.
*The views expressed in this article solely represent the views of the author, not the views of the Chicago Thinker.