Juan Williams: GOP underplays white racist terrorism


Talking about race is difficult.

Talking about racial violence is more difficult.

So, let’s not talk about the racial violence that took place Jan. 6 at the Capitol.

{mosads}Yes, I know the rampaging crowd was just about all-white. And, yes, the huge Confederate flag carried among the Trump supporters is a defining image of the insurrection.

But Senate Republicans don’t want to talk about race and the Capitol riot that left five people dead, including a policeman.

Last week they urged Christopher Wray, the FBI director, to look away. They prefer the FBI to be focused on Black Lives Matter and left-wing anarchist protests from last summer. 

Finally, Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, had enough:

“Let’s stop pretending that the threat of antifa is equal to the white supremacist threat,” he said.

Without dwelling on the death and destruction that happened at the Capitol, Durbin mentioned episodes of white supremacist violence over recent years that killed black people at a church in South Carolina, Hispanics in Texas and Jews at a synagogue in Pennsylvania.

Durbin could have saved his breath.

Senate Republicans kept pushing the fiction that last summer’s racial justice protests were equal to the terror threat coming from white supremacists, even though several studies have shown that rallies and marches were overwhelmingly peaceful.

The summer protests were 93 percent peaceful, according to the US. Crisis Monitor, which tracks violent demonstrations.

But President Trump played on fear of big city, black violence to fuel fear and get out his vote.

And now Senate Republicans continue to promote that lie.

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) has gone as far as to support conspiracy theories about the attack on the Capitol, reading from an online story in a conservative media outlet that referred to “agents provocateurs” and described the Trump supporters as “jovial, friendly” people.

At Senate hearings last week, the FBI’s Wray tried to duck the crossfire between Republicans and Democrats over the growing violence of white racists.

He carefully said the FBI’s business is halting the rise in all domestic terrorism.

But Wray did flatly note that most of the domestic terrorism is the result of “racially motivated violent extremism, specifically of the sort that advocates for the superiority of the white race.”

Oh, well that gave it away.

Also, Wray noted that arrests of white supremacists had almost tripled in the last three years.

That fit with testimony he gave last September that “racially motivated violent extremism” is the major source of domestic terrorism and “people subscribing to some kind of white supremacist-type ideology is certainly the biggest chunk of that.”

His assessment also fit with an October 2020 Homeland Security memo, written by President Trump’s acting secretary, Chad Wolf.

That memo called attention to the rise of “white supremacist violent extremists who have been exceptionally lethal in their abhorrent, targeted attacks in recent years.”

But Senate Republicans don’t want to hear it.

“The party has been swiftly repositioned as an instrument of white grievance,” Michael Gerson, a conservative, wrote in a Washington Post column last week.

“Trumpism is defined by the belief that real Americans are beset by internal threats from migrants, Muslims, multiculturalists, Black Lives Matter activists, antifa militants and various thugs, gangbangers and whiners,” Gerson added.

A different version of the same racial fight took shape in the House last week as Democrats passed a police reform bill named for George Floyd, the black man who was killed when a white Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes.

The only Republican to vote for the bill said it was a mistake and he “accidentally pressed the wrong voting button.”

Why can’t Republicans support a police reform bill — which bans choke holds, no-knock warrants and requires police to use body cameras?

{mossecondads}Could it be that it is seen as helping minorities?

Maybe it is because the vote was rushed on Wednesday night. Capitol Police warned that Thursday was targeted for a potential repeat of the January violence by the same far-right, conspiracy crowd that is mostly white.

Fortunately, there was no repeat as fencing remains around the Capitol and more than 5,000 National Guard remain on duty. Last week, it was decided that 2,200 of them will stay until May.

But inside the fencing, the Republicans in the House and Senate continue to promote the falsehood that the real domestic terror threat are minorities in big cities, far-leftists and anarchists.

Americans are not buying it. They are becoming more supportive of the racial justice protests.

As columnist Radley Balko wrote in the Washington Post last month:

“Between 2016 and 2020, the percentage of Americans who think police are more likely to use excessive force against Black people jumped nearly 25 percentage points.”

If Black Lives and Blue Lives truly mattered to Republicans on Capitol Hill, they would join with Democrats in denouncing pro-Trump white nationalists in the dark corners of the internet plotting to bring their deranged fantasies to life.

Juan Williams is an author, and a political analyst for Fox News Channel.

Tags Chad Wolf Christopher Wray domestic terrorism Donald Trump far right Racism Richard Durbin Ron Johnson White supremacy

More Campaign News

See All
See all Hill.TV See all Video

Most Popular

Load more


See all Video