As Congress moves forward with a second impeachment of President Trump over his part in last Wednesday’s Capitol insurrection, Republicans find themselves in an unenviable position. They know that the actions of the rioters and the direct assault on the halls of our democracy was beyond the pale even beyond Trumpian standards, but many of them are still afraid of MAGA voters. They know they can’t give a full-throated defense of the president after he incited the mob but they’re also afraid of abandoning him after four years of enabling his chaotic cruelty.
Lacking an obvious path forward, many Republicans are engaging in stomach-churningly milquetoast rhetoric. They’ve called for “unity and healing” and act as if such a national coming together is possible without holding those behind last week’s terror accountable. They want to simply forget what happened and move on — a course of action that is in no way possible for those of us who actually care about a functioning and stable Republic.
Now, we see Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO) dragging out a tried-and-true bad faith Republican gambit. During an appearance on CNN today, Buck muddied the issue of incitation by saying it’s “not accurate” to say there was one “speech or incident” that caused the insurrectionists to storm the Capitol.
Buck is right but not in the way he’d like us to think. It wasn’t just one speech from Trump that prompted the siege, it was months of lies about a stolen election, mass voter fraud, and a looming Communist destruction of the United States. The president primed these people for war slowly then set them loose.
Buck went on to insist that “both sides are at fault,” an incredibly dishonest, asinine comment that caused anchor John Berman to interject with a “whoa whoa whoa whoa whoa whoa whoa…” which caused Buck to stop talking.
“First of all, you keep saying ‘sides’ here. I keep telling you I’m not sure Liz Cheney and Nancy Pelosi are on any ‘sides’ together,” said Berman, referring to the daughter of the former vice president. She currently serves in Congress and has called for Trump’s impeachment.
“You keep saying both sides,” continued Berman. “What on Earth did any other side do than the side that invaded the U.S. Capitol where I believed you’re sitting right now?” he asked.
Buck squirmed as he struggled to come up with an answer, preferring instead to incredulously repeat Berman’s question a few times. Plowing ahead, the CNN host unequivocally stated that the only people to blame for the overrunning of the Capitol are those who helped overrun the Capitol, the clear implication being that Democrats had nothing to do with it and Republicans have to own this seditious crime.
Others in the media should take note of Berman’s handling of Buck’s nonsense and follow suit. These GOP officials cannot be allowed to cast this as a “both sides” issue. They cannot be allowed to wriggle out of responsibility for what their party has done and continues to do to this country. These people’s feet must be pressed to the fire until they abandon their damaging lies.
Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO): "Both sides are at fault."
CNN's John Berman: "Whoa whoa whoa … What on earth did any other side do than the side that invaded the U.S. Capitol?" pic.twitter.com/puDZOtqaTi
— The Recount (@therecount) January 13, 2021
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