Democrats blast Trump team videos: ‘False equivalency’ 

Bonnie Cash

Senate Democrats quickly shrugged off video presentations made from former President Trump’s defense team, arguing that they were trying to draw a false equivalency in an attempt to downplay Trump’s remarks. 

“It’s a complete false equivalence. I mean, you have a history, in one case, of encouraging violence through, you know, overt statements, but also dog whistles … versus a history that in no cases resulted in deaths, deaths of police officers, rioting behavior. It’s just not the same thing,” said Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.). 

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) called the videos a “distraction” from Trump “inviting the mob to Washington.” 

“They’re trying to draw a dangerous and distorted equivalence,” he said. 

Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) laughed when asked about the “fight” videos from Trump’s legal team. 

“I think it feels like they’re erecting straw men to then take them down, rather than deal with the fact that the events of the 6th happened, including Donald Trump doing nothing to protect this place,” Bennet said, describing it as a “false equivalency.” 

Democrats also argued that Trump’s rhetoric fired up his supporters, as he urged them to go to the Capitol just as Vice President Pence and congressional lawmakers were counting the Electoral College vote. A mob of rioters subsequently broke into the building, suspending Congress’s count for hours and forcing lawmakers to evacuate to secure locations. 

“Show me anytime that the result was our supporters pulled someone out of the crowd, beat the living crap out of them and then we said, ‘that’s great, good for you, you’re a patriot,’ ” said Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.).

“Second, If you looked at the chyron in terms of what was the content or the context, lots of those were about like, budgetary disputes. He was speaking to a crowd where he had notice from law enforcement and intelligence that there were extremists in the audience that they were planning to and threatening to assault the Capitol and the time mattered,” Coons added.

Asked what he thought about the videos, Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) said that Trump “was warned, if you don’t stop talking about a stolen election, people will be killed.” 

“He was specifically warned that. He kept talking about it, and a violent mob attacked the Capitol. … That’s what I thought about those videos,” Kaine said. 

Trump attorney David Schoen accused Democrats of using violent rhetoric during the civil unrest over the summer of 2020 over the deaths of several Black Americans, including George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. 

Schoen played two videos showing Democrats urging their supporters to hit the streets and protest. Trump’s team also played several clips of Democrats saying the word “fight,” though as Senate aides were quick to note, put in context some of the quotes were about Capitol Hill policy disputes. 

“lmao that clip they just played of mark warner was him vowing on the Senate floor to ‘fight’ for HEALTH CARE FOR RETIRED MINE WORKERS. i literally can’t stop laughing,” tweeted Rachel Cohen, a spokesperson for Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.). 

Schoen also accused Democrats of refusing to accept the results of past elections and played video of House impeachment team member Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas) saying, “Can you imagine telling your supporters that the only way you could possibly lose is if the American election was rigged or stolen from you? Ask yourself if you’ve ever seen anyone at any level of government make the same claim about their own election?”

Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) said that he thought the defense team “played the same video three times.”

“I don’t think that was necessary. They apparently did. I don’t think the comparison is apt about public officials using the word fight because I think the public record is pretty substantial with example after example where the president encouraged violence, refused to condemn it,” Casey said.

Tags Bob Casey Capitol breach Chris Coons Donald Trump Impeachment Joaquin Castro Mark Warner Martin Heinrich Michael Bennet Tim Kaine

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