Swalwell compares Trump to bin Laden: They ‘inspired and radicalized’
Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) compared President Trump to Osama bin Laden in a recent interview, saying both men “inspired and radicalized” their supporters to commit acts of violence.
“Osama bin Laden did not enter U.S. soil on Sept. 11, but it was widely acknowledged that he was responsible for inspiring the attack on our country,” Swalwell told PBS late Tuesday as the House prepared to impeach Trump for a second time over his role in the deadly rioting at the U.S. Capitol. “And the president … with his words, using the words fight, with the speakers that he assembled that day, who called for trial by combat and said we have to take names and kick ass, that is hate speech that inspired and radicalized people to storm the Capitol.”
During a “Stop the Steal” rally one week ago on the Ellipse, Trump urged his supporters to display “strength” and march on the Capitol as a joint session of Congress met to certify President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.
The mob then breached the Capitol, sending lawmakers into hiding and vandalizing the complex. Federal authorities have made several arrests in connection with the violence, and said dozens more could be coming.
Democrats this week introduced an article of impeachment against Trump, accusing him of “inciting insurrection” against the government.
Trump, however, has said his remarks before the riot by his supporters were “totally appropriate” and has referred to Democrats’ impeachment push as “a hoax.”
But Swalwell, one of nine managers prosecuting Trump’s second impeachment, suggested Trump’s remarks could be likened to bin Laden’s.
“I’m comparing the words of an individual who would incite and radicalize somebody, as Osama bin Laden did, to what president Trump did,” Swalwell told PBS. “You don’t actually have to commit the violence yourself, but if you call others to violence, that itself is a crime.”